FIELD HOCKEY: McNeil’s two goals lead Merrimack past Stonehill

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – In just the fourth game of her young career, freshman Mary McNeil (Canton, Mass.)scored two goals in a game for the first time and added an assist to help the Merrimack College field hockey team topple No. 9 Stonehill 4-2 on Thursday night.

Links: Box Score | Mary McNeil Interview

The Basics
Score: Merrimack 4,
 Stonehill 2| 
Records: Merrimack (3-1)
 | Stonehill (1-3)
 Martone-Mejail Field | North Andover, Mass.

How It Happened
Playing their first ranked opponent of the year, the Warriors started the game out a bit hesitant and Stonehill took advantage, scoring the first two goals of the game in the 14th and 21st minutes to take a 2-0 lead in the first half.

The game appeared it would go to halftime with that same score, but Merrimack had other plans. The Warriors continued to fight until the end of the half, getting the ball low on the offensive side of the field. Junior Nicole Bradley (Essex, Mass.) delivered a pass to McNeil right in front of the net where she was able to slide the ball past the keeper with just six seconds left in the half, giving the Warriors a new spark of energy.

Merrimack would carry that energy into the second, and just two minutes into the half senior captain Sydney Bowker (Schenectady, N.Y.) would put one in the net with a backhand shot on a loose ball, scoring her first of the season.

The momentum in the game at that point heavily shifted to the Warriors. In the 44th minute, sophomore Rylie Hammond (Phillipston, Mass.) would put one by the keeper from close range to take the lead. It came on an offensive opportunity created by McNeil, who carried the ball by three Stonehill defenders to find Hammond alone in front of the net.

The insurance goal would come with 15 minutes left in the game, taking any bit of wind out of Stonehill’s sails. Bradley would make another quality pass, leading McNeil to the opposite side of the net and leaving Stonehill’s keeper very little time to adjust. McNeil then fired a great shot right between the goalie’s legs to put Merrimack up two, a margin that would be good enough for the win.

Inside The Numbers

  • The theme of Merrimack dominating games offensively continues to be true. The Warriors would outshoot the Skyhawks 27-13 and outnumber Stonehill in penalty corners by a staggering 20-3. 
  • Multiple Warriors are making their way into Northeast-10 Conference statistical leads. Bradley’s two assists tonight put her tied for second in the conference with three. Along with goals, Taylor Simpson (York, Maine) is now tied for the conference lead in points as well. With her two scores tonight, McNeil is now tied for second in the conference in goals.
  • Senior Brie Cook (Sunderland, Mass.) picked up the first defensive save of the season for the team.

Up Next
The Warriors are back on the road and will open NE-10 Conference play against LIU Post in Brookville, N.Y. on Saturday morning at 11 a.m.

About Mike McMahon 6221 Articles
Mike McMahon is in his 13th 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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