WINTHROP, Mass. – Simmons College's Kasey Fries (Bridgewater, Mass.) was named to the First Team, while Elena Bragg (Belmont, Mass.), Ana Giarrusso (Hingham, Mass.) and Lauren Williams (Bowdoinham, Maine) were all tabbed to the Third Team by the Great Northeast Athletic Conference, it was announced today by the league.
The Sharks' quartet of All-Conference honorees marks the third straight season the Simmons program has had at least four players achieve all-league status.
Fries becomes the first player in school annals to earn All-Conference honors in each of her first three seasons since Seneca Martensson in 2013. Fries ranked fourth among league leaders with 55 goals, which was one short of tying the school's single-season mark. The junior placed eighth in points with 63, which was also the second-highest season total in program history. A graduate of Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School, she started 20 matches and also picked up 28 ground balls, came up with 13 draw controls, caused four turnovers and netted 10 free position markers. The attacker scored at least one goal in every match this season and netted multiple goals on 14 occasions. A Nursing major, Fries closed out the season with 19 goals in six contests, including eight in the GNAC Championship Tournament and was named to the All-Tournament Team.
For her career, Fries currently ranks third on the Simmons lifetime list with 125 goals, while standing fourth with 150 points in 52 career matches. Her 25 assists is also the sixth-highest total in school annals. The offensive standout has scored 29 times during free position opportunities to second all-time for the Sharks. She was named to the GNAC Second Team in each of her first two campaigns.
Bragg earns the Third Team All-Conference nod for the second straight year after enjoying one of the best all-around seasons in the league. The sophomore was the only player in the GNAC to register 21 goals, 27 ground balls and 46 draw controls in league-only matches. The Belmont High School product led the league with a school-record 103 draw controls in all matches, while ranking ninth in assists (18), 13th in points (58) and 14th in goals (40) in all contests. The midfielder started all 20 matches and placed sixth among conference leaders with 57 ground balls and ninth with 28 caused turnovers. Bragg came up with a school-record 12 draw controls on April 9 vs. Regis College and proved to be an offensive threat for the Fenway school with two or more goals on nine occasions, including five goals and three assists for a career-high eight points at Norwich University on April 26. The second-yard standout won 13 draws, caused seven turnovers, picked up six ground balls and netted five goals in three GNAC playoff games to earn All-Tournament honors as well.
In just two seasons, the Nursing major has already racked up 103 career points for the seventh-most in school annals in 37 games, while ranking fourth with 34 lifetime assists at Simmons. Her 69 goals puts her seventh on the team's all-time goals scored list, while her 146 draw controls represent the second-highest total in school history. Bragg also picked up 105 ground balls and caused 46 turnovers to place fifth on the Sharks career list in both categories.
Giarrusso finds herself on the Third Team following a season that featured her as the only player in the league to score at least 42 goals and pick up a school-record 63 ground balls. She ranked 11th among GNAC leaders in goals and third in ground balls, while establishing a new school standard with 32 caused turnovers, which placed her fourth among league leaders. In addition to Bragg and Fries, she was the third player on the squad with 50-plus points with 56, including 14 assists and led the team with 16 free position markers. The Hingham High School graduate was a catalyst for the Sharks' offensive front, winning 64 draws to rank seventh among all GNAC players. The midfielder's offensive game really came together in the second half of the season as evidenced by multiple goals in seven straight contests to close out the slate, including five efforts with three or more as part of a total of 20 scores during the string. The Nursing major scored at least one goal in each of the final 19 games of the year, while causing at least one turnover in all but four contests, including multiple disruptions in nine matches. Giarrusso enjoyed a five-game stretch from April 22 to May 5, that saw her tally 20 points (15 goals, five assists), 16 ground balls, 17 draw controls and 12 caused turnovers. She proved valuable during the GNAC Tournament with seven goals and two assists to go with six caused turnovers, six draw controls and seven ground balls to find a spot on the All-Tournament team.
A sophomore, Giarrusso had her rookie campaign shortened to eight matches in 2016 due to injury, but has already compiled 68 points in 28 games during her Simmons career to place ninth on the school's all-time list. She also ranks eighth with 18 career assists, fifth with 83 draw controls, ninth with 87 ground balls and sixth with 45 caused turnovers.
Williams makes her second appearance on the All-Conference squad after being a Second Team selection last year. The defender ranked third on the team and 20th in the league with 20 caused turnovers, while starting all 20 matches. A sophomore, Williams also came up with 35 ground balls to place third on the team, while scoring a goal and winning four draw controls. The Nursing major caused at least one turnover in 11 contests, while coming up with multiple ground balls in 10 outings.
The Mount Ararat High School graduate has started all 37 matches she's appeared in during her career and ranks among the school's career leaders with 39 caused turnovers to place seventh. She also has 66 lifetime ground balls.
The Sharks finished the season with an 8-12 overall record, including a 3-6 mark in GNAC play. Simmons pulled a pair of upsets in the GNAC Championship Tournament to become the lowest seed (sixth) in GNAC history to advance to the league's championship match, where it fell to top-seeded Johnson & Wales University.