BOSTON, Mass. – Sophomore forward Lily D'Anna (Woodstock, Vt.) and first year forward Lilly Devitt (Belmont, Mass.) each scored to lead the fourth-seeded Simmons University field hockey team to a 2-0 victory over visiting number five seed Johnson & Wales University this evening in the opening round of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship Tournament at Daly Field in Brighton, Mass.
The Sharks improve to 7-11 on the season and advance to the Semifinal round for the fifth straight year and will take on top-seeded Saint Joseph's College (Maine) on Wednesday, October 31 at 7:00 p.m. in Standish, Maine. The Wildcats fall to 5-11 as their campaign comes to a close.
The win marks the fifth consecutive year in as many GNAC tournaments that Simmons has won its initial match in the playoffs. The shutout is also the fifth in GNAC tournament play for the Sharks, who have never allowed a goal in the tournament's first round.
Simmons dominated the offensive chances in the match with a 19-5 shooting advantage and owned an 8-5 margin on penalty corner opportunities.
The Sharks got on the board with 9:29 left in the opening period for a 1-0 lead. First year forward Emily Plummer (San Diego, Calif.) sent the insert pass to sophomore midfielder Maggie Fuzak (Buffalo, N.Y.), on the left edge of the circle, who found D'Anna in front of the goalmouth for her eighth goal of the season. The marker was the only score of the first half as Simmons took a one-goal advantage into the intermission.
Johnson & Wales looked to knot the game at one goal apiece early in the second period when senior forward Adriana Scala (Valley Cottage, N.Y.) sent a shot that was ticketed for the left side of the cage, but sophomore defender Abby Anderson (South Yarmouth, Mass.) denied the try with her league-leading seventh defensive save of the season for the Sharks.
The Simmons defense held strong for the remainder of the night, holding the visitors without a shot for the final 46-plus minutes of the match.
Both teams went without a goal for nearly 42 minutes before the Sharks added an insurance tally with 2:34 remaining in the contest. Plummer fired a shot from the top of the circle that hit the inside of the post and ricocheted to the right slot, where Devitt settled and fired a shot for her first collegiate goal to become the first player in school history to register her first career score in a GNAC tournament game. She also became the first rookie to score in a GNAC playoff match since Julie Saltamartini (2014-17) and Sammy Rondeau (2014-17) each scored in the 2014 tournament as first years.
Scala finished with a pair of shots to lead the Wildcats offense.
Sophomore Lucy McNamara (Brewster, Mass.) stopped all three shots she faced to record her fifth career shutout and her second in GNAC tournament play following a shutout in last year's first round as well. Senior keeper Claire Nolan (West Bridgewater, Mass.) closes out her tenure with Johnson & Wales by making six saves.