April 28, 2014

Saints Lacrosse Teams Win First GNAC Championships

Over the weekend, the Emmanuel College men's and women's lacrosse teams each earned their first Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) championships, in only their third and fourth years, respectively, competing at varsity level.

On Saturday, the No. 1-seeded women's team defeated No. 2-seeded Saint Joseph's College (Me.), 17-7. With the win, coming on a rain-soaked Roberto Clemente Field on Saturday afternoon, the 15-2 Saints have earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and will advance to play in the national tournament on May 7th. 

Middie Kristen Tuleja '16 got the Saints on the board first, scoring off an assist from classmate Sarah Higgins '16 just four minutes into the action.  This would be the first of six goals on the night for Emmanuel's all-time leading scorer.

Tuleja finished the day with an incredible 9 points, a career-best performance. The sophomore dished out three assists to go along with her game-high six goals.  Higgins notched her 12th multi-goal game of the season with three goals and an assist.  Abaigeal Merrigan '17 and Emily Baker '17 finished with a pair of goals each for the Saints, while Savannah Lundwall '17 led the defense with her five ground balls.  Tuleja, Lundwall, Higgins and captain Sarah Wootten '15 all earned spots on the All-Tournament Team for Emmanuel.

Goalie Lauren White '16 earned her 15th win of the season for the Saints, making 11 total saves on the day.  Following the game, White was named the GNAC Tournament's Most Valuable Player.

Having gone undefeated in regular season conference play and boasting a 13-0 record against GNAC opponents this season, Emmanuel will ride an 11-game win streak into the national tournament in two weeks.  The young Saints, without a senior on the roster, will make the program's inaugural NCAA Tournament appearance. Opening round NCAA Tournament action is slated to begin on May 7th.

The No.1-seeded men's team followed suit on Sunday afternoon with a 9-3 win over Becker College. With the victory, the Saints improved to 15-3 on the year, including a 15-game winning streak, to earn the automatic qualifier into the 2014 NCAA DIII Men's Lacrosse Championship. Their GNAC crown was just the second won by an Emmanuel College men's program, after cross country in 2013.

Chris Curtis '16, Michael Rogers '16, Kaile McLean-Daley '16, Justin Kelly '16, Tony Cibelli '17 and Donnie Litzelman '17 each scored goals for the Saints. Ryan Sabuda '15 made four assists, the second highest single-game total in the program's history.

Goalie Austin Lauzier '15 continued his stellar play in net, making 10 saves to earn his 15th win of the year. Lauzier was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player, allowing just seven goals over the three games, posting a 27 saves and a .794 save percentage.

Tony Cibelli, Pat Heffernan Higgins and Chris Curtis earned spots on the All-Tournament Team for Emmanuel.

The men's team will find out their NCAA tournament opponent on May 4th when the field is announced on the NCAA.com selection show.

Check out post-game interviews from both teams below.