BOSTON, Mass. – Sophomore forward Emily Plummer (San Diego, Calif.) scored in the second overtime to give the number three seed Simmons University field hockey team a 4-3 victory over sixth-seeded Johnson & Wales University today in the opening round of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship Tournament on Daly Field in Brighton, Mass.
The Sharks improve to 8-11 on the season and advance to the GNAC Tournament Semifinals for the sixth straight year and will take on second-seeded Lasell University in Newton, Mass. on Wednesday, November 5. The Wildcats finish their season at 6-13.
The win marks the sixth consecutive year in as many GNAC tournaments that Simmons has won its initial match in the playoffs.
The Sharks scored a pair of goals within the first six minutes of the opening quarter and held a 6-3 shot advantage in the period, before Johnson & Wales countered with an 8-2 shooting effort in the second quarter that resulted in two goals to knot the score at 2-2 before halftime. Simmons finished the match with a 19-17 shot margin, including all three attempts in the second overtime. The teams were tied with six penalty corners apiece.
Plummer collected the rebound off a hard shot from junior midfielder Maggie Fuzak (Buffalo, N.Y.) and scored on a put-back on the left side of the cage with 7:44 remaining in the second extra period to give the Sharks the win with her second goal of the day and sixth of the season.
The Wildcats were in position to put the game away in the first overtime after they were awarded a penalty stroke with 2:24 to play. First year forward Mackenzie Wolf's (Reistertown, Md.) shot was stopped by Simmons junior goalkeeper Lucy McNamara (Brewster, Mass.) to keep the match tied up.
The Sharks looked primed to win the contest in regulation when junior back Brianna Desharnais (Freedom, N.H.) corralled a loose cross on a penalty corner and stepped up in the top of the circle, before lifting a shot that sailed into the back of the cage for her first marker of the year. The goal gave the home team a 3-2 edge with 5:22 showing on the fourth quarter clock.
The Simmons defense tried to keep its guests off the board for the remainder of regulation, but sophomore forward Jillian Miele (Wilmington, Mass.) fired a pair of shots at close range that were both denied, before scoring on the rebound for her third goal of the afternoon and league-leading 21st of the year with just 58 ticks left in the fourth quarter. The goal evened the match at 3-3 for Johnson & Wales and Miele became the first sophomore in conference tournament history to register three goals in a game.
Plummer's first tally of the day came with exactly two minutes gone in the opening quarter when she lifted shot just inside the right post for a 1-0 lead for the Sharks. Plummer looked to score again just under four minutes later, but was stopped by the JWU keeper. Senior forward Olivia Trull (Lowell, Mass.) was there to convert the rebound into her 11th goal of the season and a 2-0 lead for the home squad with 9:06 to play in the quarter.
Miele scored twice in the final three and a half minutes to pull the Wildcats even, late in the second quarter. The forward carried the ball across the inside of the box and unleashed a shot into the right side of the cage with 3:30 to go in the second quarter. She scored again just 2:23 later when she carried the ball to the right corner and ripped a shot into the far left side with 67 seconds left in the half to tie the game at 2-2.
McNamara turned away 10 shots to earn the victory for Simmons, while junior keeper Grace Pendergast (Berlin, Mass.) made nine saves for Johnson & Wales.