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Field Hockey: St. Anselm Tops Merrimack in NE-10 Semifinal

MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Merrimack College field hockey team was held scoreless for just the second time in 17 games this season as the fifth-seeded Warriors were edged by top-seeded and third-ranked Saint Anselm in the Northeast-10 Conference Semifinals on Friday afternoon by a score of 1-0.

The Basics
Score:
 #3 Saint Anselm 1, Merrimack 0
Records: Merrimack (9-8) |
 #3 Saint Anselm (13-6)
Location:
 Grappone Stadium|Manchester, N.H.

How It Happened

  • 1′ – The Warriors claimed the early possession advantage off the first whistle, getting the ball low into Saint Anselm’s end and earning a penalty corner within the first minute of the game. Junior Taylor Simpson (York, Maine) would manage a shot off the early corner attempt, but saw her chance blocked down by a defender.
  • 4′-23′ – For a hefty portion of the first half, the Hawks would control nearly all possession, including earning seven unanswered penalty corners and firing off eight unanswered shots while the Warriors struggled to get the ball out of their own end. But solid goalkeeping from freshman Katharina Ohmen(Bremen, Germany) and multiple broken-up shots from senior captain Sarah Sparks (Falmouth, Maine) kept the Hawks from finding the back of the net during a quality defensive stretch for Merrimack.
  • 24’/32′ – The Warriors would bookend the half with their best scoring chances, including a shot at an open net from junior Rylie Hammond (Phillipston, Mass.) that was shut down by a great defensive save from the Hawks. Sophomore Mary McNeil (Canton, Mass.) would nearly put the Warriors up 1-0 with less than four minutes remaining in the first on a beautiful rush to get within close range, but the Hawks’ keeper would make a great save to keep it scoreless after one.
  • 46′ – The first 10 minutes of the second half would be a battle of possession between both teams, with neither side getting good chances.  That would change in the 46th minute as yellow cards to two of Merrimack’s best defenders in Sparks and senior Elizabeth Egan (South Dennis, Mass.) would deplete the Warrior backline. An undermanned Merrimack defense would stop four penalty corners during the two five-minute penalties, but saw the Hawks net a rebound on their fifth corner in a three-minute span to take a 1-0 lead in the second.
  • 64′ – After facing a stout Saint Anselm defense in the second half, the Warriors would earn their lone penalty corner of the second half with less than seven minutes remaining. Simpson would get another clean shot, but saw another quality save from Saint Anselm’s keeper to deny Merrimack’s only shot on goal of the second half.

Inside The Numbers

  • Despite the loss, the Warriors backline played well in Friday’s contest, allowing less than half of Saint Anselm’s shots make it on goal, including three blocked shots alone for Sparks.
  • The conference semifinal did not favor the Warriors for the second straight year, as Tuesday marked the second consecutive 1-0 loss for Merrimack in the NE-10 Semis.
  • Shots/SOG: MC – 6/3 // STA – 18/8
  • Corners: MC – 4 // STA – 13

Up Next
The Warriors will now await the NCAA Division II Field Hockey Selection Show on Monday at 3:00 p.m., where they will learn if they have been selected for a bid in the NCAA Tournament. The show can be viewed at www.ncaa.com/liveschedule.

Mike McMahon is in his 12th year covering Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report. Mike also serves on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN

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