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Merrimack tops Adelphi to qualify for NE10 tournament

Links: Box Score | Highlights | Kayla Raneri Interview

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass.  – The Merrimack College field hockey program entered Saturday evening facing a win-or-go-home scenario as the Warriors hosted Adelphi University from Merrimack Stadium needing a victory to clinch a berth in next week’s Northeast-10 Championship. Senior goalkeeper Kayla Raneri (Reading, Mass.) made her first start of the season on Senior Night, making 11 saves, and sophomore Lindsey Nolte(Canton, Mass.) scored the game-winning goal in the final minute to give the Warriors a 3-2 win. The victory locked up the fifth seed in the conference tournament, and a date with fourth-seeded LIU Post in the opening round on Tuesday afternoon.

The Basics
Score: Merrimack 3
, Adelphi 2
Records: Merrimack (11-6, 7-5 NE10) | Adelphi (7-11, 5-7 NE10)
Location: Merrimack Stadium | North Andover, Mass.

NE10 Championship Seeding:
Merrimack finished in a three-way tie with Assumption and Franklin Pierce, with all three teams posting 7-5 records. The trio went 1-1 against each other, and moving to comparison of each team’s record versus the team occupying the highest position of the standings, Merrimack earned the #5 seed based on a win vs. Saint Anselm (Assumption and Franklin Pierce lost to Saint Anselm).  Assumption earned the #6 seed based on a head-to-head win over Franklin Pierce.

1. Saint Anselm (11-1)
2. Stonehill (10-2)
3. Pace (9-3) Head-to-Head tiebreaker over LIU Post
4. LIU Post (9-3)
5. Merrimack (7-5)
6. Assumption (7-5)

Rapid Recap

  • Before the game, seniors Rylie Hammond (Phillipston, Mass.)Riley Kane (Rye, N.H.)Mikayla Panneton (Andover, Mass.), Raneri and Taylor Simpson (York, Maine) honored in a pregame ceremony
  • It did not take long for the Warriors to get going, with Simpson celebrating her final regular-season home game with an eighth-goal. She powered a penalty-corner service from junior Delaney Yule (Southbury, Conn.) past the Panthers keeper
  • Six minutes later, sophomore Jessica Palmer (Milford, Mass.) stepped into the slot and fired a seeing-eye shot inside the far post to double Merrimack’s advantage
  • Merrimack’s defense faced an Adelphi onslaught at the start of the second half, with Raneri making four saves over the first 12 minutes and Yule contributing her second defensive save of the night
  • At the 47:55 mark, the Panthers finally pushed one past Raneri to cut into the Warriors’ lead
  • Nearly 20 minutes went by until Adelphi was able to tie the game, doing so with less than four minutes to play as a crossing past went through the goalmouth and was tipped home to make it a 2-2 night
  • Merrimack won a penalty corner as the clock ticked under a minute to go, with Yule inserting to junior Samantha Bartush (Norwalk, Conn.). The third-year back fired a pass towards the far post, where Nolte dove forward, deflecting the ball into the open net to complete the playoff-clinching triumph

Team Leaders (MC // ADE)

  • Goals: Three Tied (1) // Elizabeth Mercuri (2)
  • Assists: Three Tied (1)  // Two Tied (1)
  • Points: Three Tied (2) // Mercuri (4)
  • Defensive Saves: Delaney Yule (2) // Jessica Lodato (1)
  • Saves: Kayla Raneri (11) // Amanda Gargiulo (7)

Notes and Notables

  • Merrimack enters the postseason in a similar situation as last season. The Warriors went on the road to Long Island in 2016 – facing Adelphi instead of LIU Post – and upset the Panthers to reach the conference semifinals
  • Raneri chose the perfect night for a career performance. She set a career high with the 11 saves, seven of which came in the second stanza
  • Simpson’s 11th goal of the season gave the senior her second-ever 30-point campaign. With the tally, she moved into a tie for third all-time at Merrimack with 113 career points
  • Nolte continued her breakout season with her fifth goal and career-high 12th point. It marked her second game-winner of the season, joining Hammond as the only Warriors with multiple this season
  • McNeil became the sixth player in the NE10 this season with 10-plus assists, dishing out her team-leading 10th helper on Palmer’s first goal of the season

Up Next
Merrimack’s game on Long Island Tuesday will commence at 1 p.m. from Brookville, N.Y. The Pioneers won the season’s earlier meeting against the Warriors

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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