WINTHROP, Mass. – Simmons College's Julie Saltamartini (East Hampstead, N.H.) was named the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Field Hockey Offensive Player of the Year, while Robin Powell (Richmond, Vt.) was tabbed the Defensive Player of the Year. Both players also earned First Team All-Conference honors, while Ana Giarrusso (Hingham, Mass.), Sammy Rondeau (Franklin, Mass.) and Brianna Rastello (Salem, N.H.) were all selected to the Second Team, it was announced today by the league. Senior Amy Wilson (Falmouth, Mass.) was tabbed to the GNAC All-Sportsmanship Team as well.
It marks the second year in a row that the Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year reside at Simmons.
Saltamartini is named the league's top offensive player for the second straight year and earns First Team status for the third consecutive season. The forward tied for the conference lead with eight goals in league matches and finished the season with 45 points and 20 goals in all games to rank second among GNAC leaders. She also placed seventh with a career-high five assists. The junior was one of the most prolific scorers in all of NCAA Division III with 1.05 goals per game to stand 17th in the nation, while ranking 25th in the country with 2.37 points per match. Saltamartini registered four game-winning scores as well for the second-most in the league. The Pinkerton Academy product started all but one of the Sharks' 19 contests and notched at least one point in 10 of them. Saltamartini tallied multiple goals on six occasions, including a school-record tying four markers vs. Nichols College on September 8. Her record-performance was one of three hat tricks on the year for the offensive juggernaut. The Granite State native earned GNAC Offensive Player of the Week accolades twice and put together a five-game scoring streak from October 15 to November 2 that saw her pile up 21 points on nine goals and three assists during the stretch. She became just the third player in school history to surpass the 100-point mark on October 19 after scoring three times at New England College and became the second player in school annals to reach the 50-goal plateau with two markers at Johnson & Wales University on October 22.
Saltamartini has already established herself as one of the greatest offensive players in school history, ranking second all-time for Simmons with 52 goals and third with 116 points in 55 career matches. She has made 52 starts during her tenure, while scoring 13 game-winners. The third-year standout was named a First Team All-Region honoree last year by the National Field Hockey Coaches of America and has also been chosen the GNAC Player of the Week five times during her career.
Powell was moved to center back early in the season and embraced her new role, leading a Sharks' defense that allowed just four goals in six conference matches to tie for the fewest in the GNAC. The senior Captain helped the Simmons defense limit opponents to just 10.2 shots per contest from her center back position, while holding foes to two or fewer goals in 15 of 19 matches. A graduate of Champlain Valley Union High School, Powell started all 16 matches she appeared in and came up with a big defensive save in the GNAC Championship game at Saint Joseph's College (Maine) on November 5.
Powell has started all 72 matches during her four-year career with the Sharks. She has been an integral part of the Simmons defense that has ranked among the nation's leaders in goals against average throughout her career. Powell has recorded eight points during her career with two goals and four assists. Not only has she excelled on the field, but Powell has also been named to the NFHCA Division III National Academic Squad in each of her first three years of eligibility for the honor.
Giarrusso earns a nod on the GNAC Second Team after excelling as a center midfielder for the Sharks. The sophomore was one of two players to start all 19 contests for Simmons and tallied a career-high six points on two goals and a pair of assists. Giarrusso also registered a defensive save for the Sharks. Simmons posted a 3-0 mark in matches that the Hingham High School graduate notched at least one point in.
The second-year player has seen action in 38 games during her time at the Fenway school, while making 26 starts. She has totaled 11 points on four goals and three assists, while adding two defensive stops. Giarrusso also earned a spot on the NFHCA National Academic Squad following her first year of collegiate play.
Rastello earns All-Conference status for the third time in her career after being named to the North Atlantic Conference Second Team as a first year and a GNAC First Team selection following her sophomore campaign. The senior led the league with a .794 save percentage and ranks 26th among the nation's leaders. A graduate of Salem High School, she stopped 81 shots on the season in 16 matches. Rastello also ranks 33rd in the nation and second in the league with a 1.31 goals against average in 1121:43 minutes of action and was even stingier in league play with a 0.71 GAA. The Captain posted an 8-7 record, including three shutouts for the Sharks and earned GNAC Goalie of the Week honors for the week of September 19-25.
Rastello ends her career as one of the greatest goalkeepers in school history, winning more games than any other goalie in school annals with a career mark of 38-22. Her 17 shutouts rank as the second-most in school history, while her 301 saves rank third all-time at Simmons. Rastello claims three of the program's lowest single-season goals against marks, including the second-lowest in 2015 with a mark of 0.74, which was good for fourth in NCAA Division III. She has started all 61 matches she's appeared in, while logging 4176:41 career minutes and posting a career GAA of 1.29 to go with a .796 save percentage. Rastello earned GNAC Goalie of the Week honors eight times during her career and was named to the NFHCA National Academic Squad as a rookie.
Rondeau gets the All-Conference nod for the first time in her career after ranking among the GNAC's top nine in points (23, 9th), goals (nine, 8th) and assists (five, 7th). The junior was one of two Simmons players to start all 19 matches and scored three game-winning goals for the sixth-most among league leaders. The forward registered at least one point in eight contests, including a career-high of six on two goals and two assists vs. Nichols on September 8. The Franklin High School product put together a four-game point-string from October 19 to November 2 that saw her tally seven points on three goals and an assist.
For her career, she has started 38 of 57 matches she's appeared in. Rondeau ranks seventh in school history with 67 points, fifth with 25 goals and seventh with 17 assists, while scoring six game-winning markers. She earned GNAC Rookie of the Week honors as a first year and was named GNAC Player of the Week last season as well. In addition, Rondeau has been outstanding in the classroom, earning a spot on the NFHCA National Academic Squad following both her rookie and sophomore seasons.
The Sharks finished the season with an 11-8 overall record, including 5-1 in league play to earn the number two seed in the GNAC Championship Tournament. Simmons ended its season with a 1-0 loss at Saint Joseph's College (Maine) its third straight appearance in the GNAC Championship match on November 5.