Wildcats Win Two GNAC Championships

2015 GNAC Tournament winners, JWU Men's Soccer

November 7 was an exciting day for JWU Providence Athletics as women’s volleyball and men’s soccer both won their respective Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) championships.

“We are so very proud of both our GNAC Championship teams,” said Associate Dean of Athletics Mel Graf. “It doesn’t come without a lot of hard work, dedication, and perseverance over the span of an entire 4-month long season. We got here by hiring great coaches who recruit top student athletes and mold them into champions who exude the tenets of the Wildcat Way.”

This past Saturday, second-seeded women’s volleyball traveled to Nashua, NH to take on, and ultimately upset, the top-seeded Rivier University Raiders, 3-2 (19-25, 25-21, 25-19, 19-25, 15-10). Either JWU or Rivier has played in every one of the 19 GNAC Tournament Finals. Last season the Wildcats lost a 3-1 decision to Rivier. This conference championship is the 6th in JWU’s program history.

“The seniors from last year set the stage for this championship,” Head Coach Nancy Somera said. “By coming here [to Rivier] last year and being competitive, it allowed this year’s seniors to say ‘We can do it. We can come into this gym and [win].’ These seniors put in a lot of hard work to get this program back to a championship.”

JWU women's volleyball team

But it wasn’t just the performance and motivation of the seniors that helped secure Saturday's win. Freshman Emily Kalmink was named Tournament MVP, recording her first collegiate double-double with 12 kills and 14 digs, as well as 8 blocks.

Back on the Providence campus, JWU men’s soccer beat Albertus Magnus 1-0, with freshman Teagan Drake scoring the only goal of the game in the 79th minute of play. This is the team’s third-straight conference championship. The Wildcats are 21-0-1 at home against conference opponents since 2013, and ran this season’s winning streak to 12 matches. Senior goalkeeper Nick Tolman secured his 9th shutout of the year with 3 saves to finish the season with a 14-4 record.   

JWU Men's Soccer Team group photo

Both teams will travel this weekend to take on their respective NCAA Tournament opponents.

Men’s soccer will travel to Williamsport, Penn., on Saturday to take on Lycoming College at 11am.

Women’s volleyball will face off against Amherst College at 5:30pm Friday at MIT.

View Drake’s championship winning goal below.

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Teagan Drake nets a goal to give Men's soccer a 1-0 lead over Albertus Magnus in the GNAC Finals!!!!!!! #jwucats #beBIGnow

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