MANCHESTER, N.H. – For the first time in program history, the Saint Anselm College field hockey claimed victory in the Northeast-10 Conference Championship final – the Hawks recorded a 2-0 shutout victory over Southern New Hampshire University on Sunday at Grappone Stadium.
Saint Anselm, ranked third in NCAA Division II by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association and the top-seeded program in the NE10 postseason, improves to 19-2 overall with shutouts in each of those victories. Southern New Hampshire, ranked sixth by the NFHCA and the third seed in the NE10 playoffs, falls to 17-4.
The Hawks have conceded only one goal all season to a Northeast-10 member institution, holding conference foes to only 25 shots on net across 17 games.
Slotted first and third, respectively, in the official East Region rankings, Saint Anselm and Southern New Hampshire will tune in to NCAA.com at 3 p.m. on Monday to learn their next opponent via the NCAA Division II Field Hockey Selection Show. There is not an automatic qualifier for Division II field hockey.
Senior Kaeleigh Lord (Keene, N.H.) was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player and picked up a selection to the All-Championship Team. She was joined on the squad by Hawks seniors Mary Nee (Canton, Mass.) and Michelle Lemelin (Chelsea, Maine).
The Penmen came out of the gate strong, creating a solid offensive chance only 71 seconds into regulation time. Southern New Hampshire got behind the Hawks defense and slid a left-to-right cross toward Emily Campbell, but the Third Team All-Conference pick for the Penmen could not get a quality shot off and the ball rolled wide of the net.
In the game's ninth minute, Lemelin put the Hawks ahead for good. With the ball on its way out of the zone, junior Kendall Clifford (South Easton, Mass.) threw a stick down to tip the ball across to Lord. The senior sent the ball over to sophomore Carly LaCasse (Sagamore Beach, Mass.) who one-touched the ball toward the goal mouth for Lemelin to send home.
Junior Ericka Meissner (Falmouth, Mass.) scored the Hawks second goal of the game with under a minute left in first half play. Carrying the ball parallel to the goal line, Meissner crossed a ball in front where it kicked off the stick of a Penmen defender and into the back of the net. Sophomore Sarah Bagley (North Andover, Mass.) picked up an assist on the play.
The Penmen fired four second half shots and were awarded five penalty corners in the game's final 30 minutes, but the Hawks preserved their team's 19th shutout of 2019. Southern New Hampshire finished the contest with an edge in shots, 10-to-7, but the Hawks came out with the victory.
Hawks backstop Julia Hand (Reading, Mass.), the NE10 Goalkeeper of the Year, made three saves to preserve the shutout. Melanie Rennie drew the loss for Southern New Hampshire, conceding two goals on five shots on net.
Sophomore Jackie Gaumer (Thornton, N.H.) was named the postseason's NE10 Elite 24 award winner. The award is issued to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site at each NE10 Championship.
A complete list of the All-Championship Team reads as follows.
Kaeleigh Lord – Saint Anselm (MOP)
Michelle Lemelin – Saint Anselm
Mary Nee – Saint Anselm
Laura van der Doorn – Southern New Hampshire
Hélène Servais – Southern New Hampshire
Lauren Cooper – Saint Thomas Aquinas
Sam Tepper – Assumption