Norwich Tops Lasell to Claim GNAC Title, NCAA Bid

NORTHFIELD, VT. Fueled by a sparkling performance from sophomore midfielder Grace Fitzpatrick (Falmouth, Maine), Norwich University picked up its third consecutive Great Northeast Athletic Conference tournament title with a 17-6 win over Lasell April 28.

Playing in front of a strong crowd at Howard Field, Fitzpatrick, en route to tournament Most Valuable Player honors, scored nine goals to guide the Maroon and Gold (14-0). The key part of her performance occurred in the late stages of the first half when, with Lasell (15-3) having rallied to within 4-3, she reeled off two scores in 10 seconds to spark a six-goal NU run that put the home team up 10-3 at halftime.

"We were able, during that stretch, to get our offense into space and get their goalkeeper moving around, too," Norwich University coach Elizabeth VanParys said. "When we were able to execute passes, we were really clicking.

"Lasell is a strong team," she added. "We knew this would be a tough game. The players were very motivated for this afternoon."

Fitzpatrick and senior midfielder Kacey Abbriano (Hicksville, N.Y.), as they have throughout the season, led the Cadets' offensive attack. Abbriano, compiling her 25th straight multiple-goal finish, turned in five goals. Senior midfielder Mollie Fitzpatrick (Falmouth, Maine) also had a multiple-goal outing with two to go with one assist. Her sister, Grace, also added an assist to her 12th straight multiple-goal contest for a 10-point afternoon.

Defensively, NU senior goalkeeper Meghan Kennedy (Lowell, Mass.), recording her 19th straight win, turned in eight saves. The Cadets also forced seven Lasell turnovers and picked up 17 ground balls.

Lasell did manage a 17-shot attack. The sophomore attacker duo of Erin Gertonson and Britney Wourio combined for four goals. Freshman goalkeeper Alexa Katsigianis kept the Lasers close, especially early on, with 10 saves.

With the win, the Cadets return to the NCAA Division III tournament for a third straight year. The 2012 field will be announced Sunday, May 6.

Game Notes Abbriano, Molle Fitzpatrick, senior attacker Danielle Del Dotto (Andover, Mass.) and Kennedy joined Grace Fitzpatrick on the all-tournament team. Lasell put junior midfielder Rebecca Stanton, junior centerfielder Ashley Slattery and Katsigianis on the all-tourney squad. The remainder of the GNAC all-tournament selections went to Rachel Wallace and Seneca Martensson of Simmons and Kayla Dowd and Emily Saeger of Emerson. ... When the dust settled, VanParys reflected on the Cadets' recent success. "We have a group that is together, really enjoy each other and are happy whether it's during practice or games," she said. "We've had some good results and tough finishes during this run, but in the end, it comes down to that togetherness and that these players enjoy playing the game." . ... Saturday's win kept Norwich's league and home win streak going, pushing the conference mark to 29 and home skein to 19. ... Abbriano went over the 60-goal season mark for the first time in her career.


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