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NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The Merrimack College field hockey program returned to campus this week and will officially kickoff the 2015 season with its first practice on Friday.

Head coach Anne Rounce enters her eighth season hoping to continue the success the Warriors have had during her tenure. Merrimack managed its fourth consecutive winning season in 2014, finishing 9-8 despite having a very young roster. It was just the first season in the past four that Merrimack did not earn an NCAA Tournament at-large berth.

The Warriors bring back all but two starters from last season, making them preseason contenders for a Northeast-10 Championship. Sophomore forward Taylor Simpson (York, Maine) returns to spearhead Merrimack’s offensive attack, coming off a team-high 34-point season as she was named NE-10 Rookie of the Year. Fellow sophomore forward Rylie Hammond (Phillipston, Mass.) also returns to help the Warriors on the offensive end after an 18-point season earned her NE-10 All-Rookie honors.

Senior goalkeeper Madison Davis (San Jose, Calif.) hopes to cap off a stellar career, coming off a season where she finished among the top five in save percentage (.811) and goals-against average (1.66) in the NE-10. Junior backSarah Sparks (Falmouth, Maine) expects to lead a solid Merrimack defense.

The Navy and Gold begin the year Wednesday, Sept. 9, when they travel to Bentley to take on the Falcons at 7 p.m.

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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