PAXTON, Mass.—The Anna Maria College field hockey team has secured the No. 6 seed in the 2016 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) tournament, marking the third-straight season that the AMCATS have appeared in the post season.
The AMCATS will travel to Johnson & Wales for a 4:00 p.m. game in the first round of the playoffs. The winner will advance to face top-seeded Saint Joseph's (Maine) on Wednesday, November 2nd in the semifinals.
HOW THEY GOT HERE
Johnson & Wales finished with a 4-2 record to secure the third seed. They were the only team in 2016 to beat the top-seeded Monks of Saint Joseph's, but a surprise 1-0 loss to Rivier and a 4-0 loss to Simmons kept them out of the top two slots.
Anna Maria struggled in conference play in 2016 with a 2-4 record. They recorded wins against Rivier and Lasell. A 3-1 loss to Mount Ida in the regular season finale sealed the AMCATS' fate, as a win would have bumped them to fourth place with a first-round home game. Despite the record, all four GNAC losses for the AMCATS were by a margin of two goals or less.
The two teams met earlier this season on Saturday, October 8th at JWU's home field in Providence, R.I. The Wildcats took a 2-0 lead on the shoulder of Kaylyn Forest, who scored in the 30th and 60th minutes. Anna Maria broke up the shutout with a goal by Kaitlyn Moran (Leicester, Mass.) in the 65th minute, but the AMCATS were unable to score again to tie the game.
The 2-1 victory for JWU snapped a four-game losing streak that included the conference loss to Rivier. For Anna Maria, the loss snapped a three-game winning streak and marked the first loss in an ongoing five-game winless streak.
Anna Maria is led by Moran, who is the GNAC's leading scorer this season with 24 goals. She also has nine assists for 57 total points, which also tops the GNAC. Junior Nicole Denver (Springfield, Mass.) is second in scoring on the team with six goals and three assists for 15 points. She scored the team's lone goal against Mount Ida on Monday.
Goalkeeper Bryanna Tobin (Deep River, Conn.) has grown into her role between the pipes this season. She currently ranks second in the league in saves (108) and third in save percentage (.755). She also holds a 2.23 goals-against average.
The AMCATS boast an experienced backfield, as senior midfielder Katherine Albro (Leicester, Mass.), junior Jacqueline Laiperre (Worcester, Mass.) and senior defender Emily Standring (Worcester, Mass.) have started all 18 games this season.
The Wildcats have received goals from seven different members of the team this season. Kaylyn Forest is the scoring leader with six goals, while Casey Chodkowski, Madeline Larson, Morgan Matthews and Adriana Scala have all scored three times each. As a team, the Wildcats have totaled 22 goals on the season.
Goalkeeper Clair Nolan has played every game in net for the Wildcats and has a GNAC-leading 124 saves. She holds a .685 save percentage and a 3.35 goals-against average.
Saturday, October 29 - First Round
Game 1: #5 Mount Ida at #4 Lasell - 12:00 PM
Game 2: #6 Anna Maria at #3 Johnson & Wales - 4:00 PM
Wednesday, November 2 - Semifinals
Game 3: Game 1 winner at #1 Saint Joseph's of Maine - TBA
Game 4: Game 2 winner at #2 Simmons - 7:00 PM
Saturday, November 5 - Final
Game 5: Game 3 winner vs Game 4 winner