NEWTON, Mass. - The sixth-seeded Simmons College women's lacrosse team limited host number three seed Lasell College to just one goal in the second half as part of a 15-7 upset victory this afternoon in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship Tournament Quarterfinals. The Sharks improve to 7-10 on the season, while the Lasers fall to 10-6.
Simmons advances to the Semifinals and will travel to Standish, Maine on Friday, May 5 to take on second-seeded Saint Joseph's College, a 17-6 winner over seventh-seeded Norwich University.
The win is the first playoff victory for the Sharks since a 9-8 semifinal decision over Norwich University on April 26, 2013 and the first-ever triumph over Lasell in 12 matches.
Despite the Lasers owning a 7-2 advantage on draw controls and the teams putting up nearly even shot totals in the second half, the Simmons defense forced the Lasers into 14 turnovers and held them scoreless for the final 26:26 of play. The home team was just 3-7 on clear attempts in the period, while the Sharks' offense scored seven times. Simmons was nearly flawless, making good on 18 of 20 clear attempts for the game and made sure to extend its possessions in the offensive zone.
Four Sharks posted hat tricks on the day with sophomore midfielder Ana Giarrusso (Hingham, Mass.) registering a five-point effort on three goals and two assists to give her 52 points and Simmons a trio of 50-plus point scorers for the first time in program history. She also caused three turnovers to set the season record for caused turnovers with 29 to break a tie with Greer Gilbert's total of 26 from 2014 and 2015. In addition, she added three ground balls and two draw controls. Sophomore midfielder Elena Bragg (Belmont, Mass.) also netted three goals to give her 101 career points to become the seventh player in school history to reach the century mark. Bragg also added six draw controls and a pair of caused turnovers. Junior attacker Kasey Fries (Bridgewater, Mass.) and sophomore Mallory Cottam (Hope, R.I.) each found the back of the net three times, while Cottam picked up a game-high five ground balls to go with a caused turnover and Fries came up with two ground balls and caused a turnover. Fries now has 50 goals for the season to mark just the third time in program annals that the Sharks boast a 50-goal scorer.
Junior goalie Chyenne Yeager (Indiana, Pa.) earned the victory with eight saves for Simmons.
Junior midfielder Taylor Yandow (Moretown, Vt.) scored four goals with one assist in addition to a game-high nine draw controls and added three caused turnovers and two ground balls to pace Lasell. The Lasers also received single scores from sophomore attacker Jillian Vergados (Tyngsboro, Mass.), sophomore attacker Vanessa Pino (Methuen, Mass.) and sophomore defender Megan Palumbo (Southington, Conn.). Bridget Delaney (Weymouth, Mass.) and Brooke Bergeron (Lynn, Mass.) split time in net for Lasell, with Delaney suffering the loss on three saves and eight goals against. Bergeron stopped two of nine shots in the second half.
Yandow tallied the first goal of the match just 36 seconds into the period for the Lasers, before the teams each traded a pair of goals with Pino scoring to give Lasell a 3-2 edge with 20:02 showing in the opening half. Giarrusso, first year attacker Kingsley Richards (Lexington, Mass.) and Cottam responded with three straight goals to give the Sharks a 5-3 margin with 10:20 left in the period. The flurry of goals proved to be pivotal with the visitors never trailing for the rest of the afternoon.
Yandow scored at 8:40 for Lasell, but Giarrusso and Fries countered for Simmons to increase its lead to 7-4 at the 7:46 mark. The Lasers closed out the half with two of the final three goals, including the final score of the half from Yandow at 3:19 to cut the deficit to 8-6 before heading to the intermission.
Cottam and Giarrusso each scored within the first three minutes of the second stanza to give the Sharks a 10-6 lead, before Yandow scored the final marker of the day for the hosts at 26:26 to pull them to within 10-7.
While the Simmons defense was holding strong, the offense scored five unanswered goals to close out the contest, including two from Bragg, to secure the victory.