3 JWU Women's Teams Win GNAC Championships

This past weekend was a win for lady Wildcats!

The JWU Providence Women's Soccer, Volleyball and Field Hockey teams took the GNAC (Great Northeast Athletic Conference) championships by storm. More than a dozen colleges participate in the GNAC, competing annually to take the title of regional champion.

Take a peek at how all three teams performed and how each are approaching their next big challenge, the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) championships.

JWU Women's Soccer on a GNAC Championship Streak

JWU Women's Soccer defeated the Lasell Lasers (Lasell is a private university in Newton, Massachusetts) 3-0 to take their second straight GNAC championship title.

The JWU Women's Soccer team proudly holds up its GNAC 2021 Champions banner

Great teamwork by Jordan Restivo, Olivia Cairrao and Emily DeRoehn scored the match's first goal, while Cairrao teamed up with Hailey Viebrock to score the second goal. For the third goal, Restivo and Cairrao got the ball close enough to the Lasers' goal for Angelina Oliveira to make the winning shot. Carly McCrumb was also credited with making a crucial save in the game that prevented the Lasers from scoring.

JWU Providence Head Women’s Soccer Coach Chris Flint commented, "The team is very excited to repeat as GNAC Champs and looks forward to the challenge of playing a new opponent in Hamilton from a very good conference NESCAC in the NCAA Tournament."

As for what it was like returning to the field after the pandemic, Flint stated, "Playing a full season after missing 2020 due to COVID was great! All the student athletes have been so appreciative of getting back to normal and playing a full season. Coming into the Fall and being the preseason #1 team in the GNAC meant that everyone was gunning for us, and the team showed a lot of character - especially with three straight 3-0 wins in the GNAC Tournament!"

JWU Providence Women's Soccer will face off against Hamilton, a private college in New York, in its first NCAA match on Saturday, November 13.

JWU Women's Volleyball Hoists Sixth Straight GNAC Trophy

Don't look now, but JWU Providence Women's Volleyball has done it again.

Last weekend the team captured its sixth GNAC Championship trophy in a row after defeating the Rivier Raiders 3-1. Rivier is a private Catholic university located in Nashua, New Hampshire.

The JWU Women's Volleyball team proudly holds up their GNAC 2021 Champions banner

The match was exciting, as the Wildcats had to overcome an 8-point deficit to earn the victory.

Peyton Oliver, Tiah Scott, Kyra Hissner and Elisabeth Elbrecht all scored points throughout the match, with Rivier serving as a worthy opponent throughout. Finally, in the fourth set, Elbrecht scored the kill that secured the championship for the Wildcats.

JWU Providence's Head Women's Volleyball Coach Nancy Somera is proud of how the team performed, especially with the challenge of having 10 players who had never played a college volleyball season until now.

"There's a learning curve to how to manage a season in regards to what it takes everyday to show up mentally and physically to train in the right way, " says Somera. "It took a while for this group to learn what it takes, but in the end they became students of the game, prepared well and became GNAC Champions. I'm especially excited for the seniors, who as freshmen and sophomores played less prominent roles, but nonetheless were integral in the success of the 2018 and 2019 seasons."

The team faced the same challenge as others in having to forego competition during the pandemic. "Missing out on last year's season robbed them of a year to learn how to be upperclassmen and how to shoulder more responsibility on and off the court," Somera says of her student athletes. "But they became good leaders and have found a way to leave their own legacy within the program."

Coach Somera also felt similarity between this year's championship and her first one with the program back in 2015, when the Wildcats had faced off against the same talented team. "Like then, we were the underdogs and upset Rivier on the road in front of their unruly and hostile crowd," says Somera. "There's nothing better than when the opponent's home crowd becomes silent. We showed a lot of resilience coming back in the fourth set to win the match, and I'm excited to see what we can do this weekend in the NCAA tournament. We're playing our best volleyball of the season right now!"

The JWU Providence Wildcats will be among 44 college teams competing in the NCAA. Their first match will be against Bowdoin on Friday, November 12.

JWU Women's Field Hockey Boasts First GNAC Championship Title

Wildcats often make history, and the JWU Providence Women's Field Hockey team did that last weekend, earning the first-ever GNAC Championship win for the program.

The JWU Women's Field Hockey team proudly holds up its GNAC 2021 Championship banner

The Wildcats faced off against the Colby-Sawyer Chargers last weekend, scoring a 4-1 win over the New London, New Hampshire private college's field hockey team.

After an equally scoreless first half, the Wildcats dug in, with Claire Decker scoring JWU's first goal unassisted. Margaret Johnson scored the Wildcats' second goal just a couple of minutes later, then scored another near the end of the game. Jillian Miele contributed the fourth and final goal in the 57th minute, and JWU prevented the Chargers from catching up before the clock ran out. 

JWU Providence Head Field Hockey Coach Lisa Lopes also recognized the impact the pandemic had on athletics, but she noted one positive effect: "The year of COVID definitely gave each player and our staff a newfound appreciation for the sport and truly appreciating being together and competing."

This was Lopes' first my first season with the team as their head coach, and she shares her experience: "All summer I could feel the excitement leading into our season from each player. With every single game, the team got better and better (which was our focus). Each game built our confidence. Our team was not going to settle with just making it to the GNAC championship. They were determined and confident that they could win it all. That belief allowed us to do just that! We had GREAT leadership with our seniors and even 2 players that chose to stay and compete this extra season."

Lopes noted that Colby-Sawyer was the only team the Wildcats lost to in their very first GNAC game of the season, so they were excited to meet them again in the championship and have another go. "We knew we were a different team from that first game," Lopes explained. "This group embraced the change our coaching staff brought and wanted JWU field hockey to turn into a championship program!"

JWU Providence Women's Field Hockey had the fastest turnaround among the athletics programs. While soccer and field hockey Wildcats have yet to face their NCAA adversaries, the Field Hockey team already played its first NCAA game on November 10.

"Our NCAA game was against an extremely talented Tufts team," shares Lopes. "On paper, they were supposed to blow us out of the water. But our team held it 0-0 the entire game until 3 minutes left on the clock. It was a true representation of our team this entire year. Competitors and fighters until the very end with a belief that they could do ANYTHING they set their mind to!"

How the JWU Community Can Support Women Wildcats

The JWU Women's Soccer team shares a Wildcats smile

If you're as excited as the athletes are about the recent wins for JWU Providence, join the community in cheering them on! JWU Providence Athletics has created a NCAA Championship Central page, sharing details on how to attend each game in person or containing a recap for anything you missed. The page includes live stats, videos and brackets for each game.

Go Wildcats!

Apply to JWU Visit JWU