PORTLAND — The balanced and consistent scoring attack of the St. Joseph’s College women’s lacrosse team, which has seven players with at least 26 goals this season, has been tough for opponents to neutralize all season.

That offense, along with a midfield that dominated loose-ball chances and a stifling second-half defensive effort, led the Monks to their first conference title.

Four players scored at least two goals, the midfield controlled 10 of 15 draws, and the defense didn’t allow a shot on goal in the final 24 minutes, 37 seconds of the game as top-seeded St. Joseph’s beat second-seeded Lasell 10-3 in the Great Northeast Atlantic Conference championship game at Memorial Stadium.

“Top to bottom, this is probably the best game we’ve played because of the intensity of this game,” St. Joseph’s Coach Rupert Lewis said.

“The whole tournament has been great.”

It’s the first conference title in the eight-year history of the Monks’ program, which rides a 17-game winning streak into its first NCAA Division III tournament appearance.

“It’s so surreal,” junior midfielder Kat Gadbois said. “I can’t believe we’re standing here with an undefeated conference season.”

St. Joseph’s (17-1) led wire to wire, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the opening 4:03 and never letting the Lasers get closer than two the rest of the way.

Leading scorer Elyse Caiazzo, a freshman, started the scoring, wriggling past her defender and beating Lasell goalie Alexa Katsigianis.

Gadbois followed with goal off a similar individual move, and 59 seconds later Lizzie Calnan – the only senior starter – completed a fast start for the Monks by circling around the goal and beating Katsigianis from close range.

“That’s what we want to do, come out with a lot of momentum, get those goals, and that’s just enough for us to get our jitters out and play our game,” Caiazzo said.

“Those first three goals that we got, it got us into thinking this isn’t just the championship, but this is our game.”

Leading 6-3 at the half, the Monks shut out the Lasers in the second half.

Michelle Cunha made the last of her four saves with 24:37 remaining.

Caiazzo then scored on a spin move and Calnan followed with a free position goal to make it 8-3 with 15:59 left.

The Monks were happy to slow it down from there, playing keep away.

St. Joseph’s also played strong defense on the rare occasions when Lasell (12-6) had the ball. The Lasers committed 12 second-half turnovers.

“We really wanted the ball on our (offensive) end the whole time,” said Caiazzo, who scored twice in the last 10 minutes.

“And even if we had it on our (offensive) end, we didn’t want to force anything. We wanted to make the perfect goal and execute our game.”

The Monks will now have to wait a week to learn their first-round opponent for the NCAAs.

“I’m excited,” Lewis said. “It’s an opportunity for us to showcase what we’re doing as a team. We’re just having fun now. This is what it’s all about.”

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