NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – In a storybook ending to the 2018 Northeast-10 Conference Championship, the No. 5 and second-seeded Merrimack College field hockey program won its first-ever NE10 Championship on Sunday afternoon in dramatic fashion over No. 10 and fourth-seeded Saint Anselm. With the score knotted at 1-1, the Warriors were awarded a penalty corner with no time left on the clock, and senior Mary McNeil was able to gain possession off the corner, potting a shot that gave Merrimack the 2-1 victory for the league title.
The first half saw both teams score once on chances generated by penalty corners. Merrimack put the first goal up, as junior Miranda Judd netted her seventh of the season off a feed from McNeil. The Hawks answered five minutes later, as a shot from the top of the zone deflected down to junior Hannah Friend who deposited the loose ball into the vacant net.
Junior Katharina Ohmen made four saves – three of which came in the second half – and landed on the NE10 All-Tournament team for her efforts. McNeil and senior Delaney Yule joined her on the all-tournament squad, while McNeil was named the NE10 Championship’s Most Valuable Player. Ohmen earned the NE10’s Elite 24 Award as the student-athlete with the highest grade-point-average in the conference tournament.
Score: #5 Merrimack 2, #10 Saint Anselm 1
Records: #5 Merrimack (18-3) | #10 Saint Anselm (15-6)
Location: North Andover, Mass. | Duane Stadium
NE10 Championship Schedule
Tuesday, November 13
Quarterfinals – at Higher Seeds
Game 1: #8 Assumption def. #1 Pace (1-0)
Game 2: #2 Merrimack def. #7 Bentley (3-1)
Game 3: #6 Stonehill def. #3 LIU Post (7-1)
Game 4: #4 Saint Anselm def. #5 Southern New Hampshire (4-2)
Friday, November 16
Semifinals – at Higher Seeds
Game 5: #8 Assumption at #4 Saint Anselm (3-2 STA)
Game 6: #6 Stonehill at #2 Merrimack (2-1 MC)
Sunday, November 18
Game 7: #2 Merrimack def. #4 Saint Anselm (2-1 MC)
- MC (1-0) – Merrimack opened the scoring with a chance that began with a penalty corner. McNeil spun around to feed Judd, who was able to step into a shot and fired a shot home that gave the hosts a 1-0 advantage
- STA (1-1) – The Hawks’ chance also came off a corner, as the visitors equalized five minutes later. A Saint Anselm attempt deflected down into the middle of the offensive zone, where junior Hannah Friend pounced on the loose ball to tie the game at one-all
- MC (2-1) – Merrimack earned the corner with five seconds left, and by the time junior Alex Mondini inserted the corner, time had expired in regulation. Mondini delivered a feed to Judd, whose shot was blocked in front, but when right to McNeil. The Canton, Mass. native circled around the offensive zone, and delivered a championship-winning shot with no time on the clock
- McNeil was a part of both of Merrimack’s goals on the afternoon, bringing her season totals to 17 goals, 15 assists and 49 points
- Judd moved into third on the team in scoring with seven goals, and tied for third on the team in 19 points. Merrimack has now received 16 goals from its back line
- Ohmen finished the NE10 Championship with 14 saves over three games, stopping all but three of the shots she faced over the tournament
Notes and Notables
- Merrimack captured its first-ever conference tournament crown after falling shot in its two previous appearances in the NE10 Final (2011, 2012)
- McNeil’s 15 assists in 2018 now lies one shy of tying the single-season program record. The Canton, Mass. native’s 49 career points ranks fourth all-time, and she is on the doorstep of becoming the fourth player in school history with a 50-point campaign
- Merrimack out-shot Saint Anselm, 12-8, and owned a 7-5 advantage in shots on goal
- The Warriors entered the day as the nation’s leader in penalty corners per game, and owned a 9-8 advantage in the title game. Seven of their nine corners came in the second half, where Merrimack controlled the majority of possession
- With the win, Merrimack established a new single-season wins record with its 18th of the season
The Warriors will now await their seeding in the Division II NCAA Championship. Merrimack was ranked second in the East Region in the final NCAA DII regional poll, which was released last Wednesday. Six programs advance to the NCAA Tournament, which will be unveiled on Monday at 3 p.m. on the NCAA Selection Show.