BOSTON, Mass. – Junior forward Julie Saltamartini (East Hampstead, N.H.) scored a goal and added an assist to lead the second-seeded Simmons College field hockey team over visting number three seed Johnson & Wales University, 3-0, this evening in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship Tournament Semifinals at Daly Field in Brighton, Mass. The Sharks improve to 11-7 on the season, while the Wildcats fall to 7-12.
Simmons advances to the GNAC Championship match for the third straight year and will travel to take on top-seeded Saint Joseph's College (Maine), which defeated number four seed Lasell College, 3-1. The contest will be played in Standish, Maine on Saturday, November 5.
The home team outshot JWU, 10-2, and owned a 5-0 advantage on penalty corners.
The Sharks wasted no time getting on the board as Saltamartini fired a shot diagonally from the left post that resulted in her 20th goal of the season just 15 seconds into the contest. The marker ties the Simmons school record for goals in a season set by Tanya Rego in 2005 and also marks the fastest goal to start a GNAC playoff match.
Simmons increased its lead to 2-0 just over six minutes into the contest when Saltamartini flipped a backhanded cross to a waiting Jenna Gagnon (Waterville, Maine), who settled the pass and deposited the ball inside the left post for her third goal of the season and fifth career playoff score.
The Sharks' defense held Johnson & Wales without a shot in the opening half, while the offense attempted six of its own.
Simmons added an insurance goal with 15:27 left to play in the match off a penalty corner. Sophomore midfielder Meghan Fontaine (Westminster, Mass.) took the insert pass and fired a shot from just inside the left side of the circle to the far post, where junior forward Sammy Rondeau (Franklin, Mass.) redirected the blast into the back of the cage. The marker was the ninth of the year and gave the Sharks a 3-0 lead.
Junior forward Giovanna Ciavardoni (Latham, N.Y.) and sophonmore forward Adriana Scala (Valley Cottage, N.Y.) each attempted a shot to lead the Wildcats' offensive effort.
Senior goalie Brianna Rastello (Salem, N.H.) was untested for the night to record her 16th career shutout and third straight GNAC Tournament shutout, dating back to last year's tourney. Sophomore Claire Nolan (West Bridgewater, Mass.) stopped three shots for Johnson & Wales.