BABSON PARK, Mass. – Sophomore forward Julie Saltamartini (East Hampstead, N.H.) tallied a pair of goals and assisted on another to lead the top-seeded Simmons College field hockey team to a 3-0 victory over visiting fifth-seeded Johnson & Wales University this evening in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Tournament Semifinals on MacDowell Field on the campus of Babson College in Babson Park, Mass.
The Sharks win their fourth straight match to improve to 13-4 on the season and advance to the GNAC Championship game for the second straight year. Simmons will take on number two seed Saint Joseph's College (Maine), a 3-1 winner over number three seed Anna Maria College, on Saturday, November 7 at 6:00 p.m. in a match to be played at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.
Johnson & Wales concludes its season with a 4-15 mark.
The Sharks wasted no time in getting on the board when Saltamartini collected her own rebound in front of the cage and used a backhanded sweep to put the ball in the back of the cage just 98 seconds into the contest for a 1-0 edge.
Simmons increased its lead to 2-0 in the second half when sophomore forward Sammy Rondeau (Franklin, Mass.) carried the ball just inside the circle on the right side, where she sent a cross to a closing Saltamartini. The sophomore connected with a one-timer for her second tally of the evening and team-leading 17th of the season at 56:48 of the second half.
The Sharks added an insurance marker less than three minutes later when Rondeau sent a cross to Saltamartini in the middle of the circle, who fed junior forward Jenna Gagnon (Waterville, Maine) in the left slot for her sixth goal of the season and a 3-0 Simmons lead.
The Wildcats threatened to knot the contest late in the first half when sophomore forward Giovanna Ciavardoni (Latham, N.Y.) put a shot on goal, but the Sharks' keeper made a stop with her blocker with 1:15 to go in the opening half. Ciavardoni took aim on the cage again late in the second half off a penalty corner, but was denied again by junior midfielder Amy Wilson (Falmouth, Mass.), who registered a defensive save.
Junior goalie Brianna Rastello (Salem, N.H.) stopped both shots she faced to register her seventh shutout of the year and 13th of her career for the Sharks. She also extended her scoreless streak to 238:52 minutes as Simmons posted its school-record 11th shutout. Sophomore keeper Shannon Yoder (Boyertown, Pa.) made five saves for Johnson & Wales, while senior midfielder Jessica Gravalis (Washington Crossing, Pa.) recorded a pair of defensive saves.