ERIE, Pa. – The No. 7 Merrimack College men’s lacrosse program started its national title defense with a resounding victory over third-seeded Mercyhurst University in the opening round of the 2019 NCAA Division II Men’s Lacrosse Championship on Wednesday at Tullio Field.
After the Lakers scored the first two goals of the contest, it was all Merrimack from there on out; the Warriors would score the game’s next 14 goals spanning late in the first quarter to early in the fourth. By then, the game was well out of reach, as Merrimack advanced to the national quarterfinals to take on second-seeded Adelphi on Saturday (March 11) at 1 p.m.
The trio of junior Charlie Bertrand (six goals) and sophomores Sean Black(eight assists) and Christian Thomas (four goals, one assist) combined for nearly 20 points between the three of them, while junior Nick Ponte turned away 10 of the 14 shots that reached him to highlight a stellar performance in net.
Score: Merrimack 16, Mercyhurst 5
Records: #7 Merrimack (14-3, 10-1 NE10) | #4 Mercyhurst (13-4, 6-1 G-MAC)
Location: Tullio Field | Erie, Pa.
- Mercyhurst had the first two goals of the game and led by a pair midway through the opening frame, as Merrimack was limited to just one shot on goal up until that point. After missing out on its first extra-man opportunity of the game, Bertrand got the Warriors on the board on their next man-up chance with 3:14 left in the frame before senior Michael O’Connell converted two minutes later on another. But the visitors weren’t done there, as Bertrand found the twine again with only three seconds left to take a 3-2 lead into the second stanza.
- Merrimack would grow its lead to five after tacking on four more in the second ledger. O’Connell did the damage first 48 seconds into the period and was followed on the scoresheet by Bertrand (8:40), Christian Thomas (6:06) and Bertrand again (3:14). The Lakers thought they had two goals during the quarter, but both were overturned on violations, including one in the final minute that led to a Merrimack extra-man opportunity that it would bring into the second half.
- Merrimack would add another four in the third frame to extend its lead to nine (11-2), as Bertrand and Christian Thomas combined for two apiece.
- The Warriors’ scoring run finally came to an end after 14 uninterrupted tallies early in the fourth, but by that point the visitors led by 12 (14-2). Christian Thomas, O’Connell and junior Dom Thomas added to Merrimack’s lead with three goals during a two-minute locked-in extra-man chance. The Lakers finally ended a nearly 45-minute scoring drought with back-to-back man-up goals of their own, but rookie Jake Holava and junior Tyler Liantonio fired in two more tallies in response before the final horn sounded with Merrimack on top as 11-goal victors.
Notes and Numbers
- Black would lead all Warriors with eight points on the afternoon, all of them assists. Bertrand’s six goals were the most by any player and represented his eighth six-goal game this year. Christian Thomas finished with four goals and a helper, as well, to round out the top-three scorers for the Warriors.
- Dom Thomas dished three helpers and had a goal of his own, while O’Connell also had a hat trick. Senior Dan Cotnoir led all Warriors with two caused turnovers, as well.
- Sophomore Davis Cronin had another strong day on the X winning 10-of-15 faceoffs (66.7%). Cotnoir, sophomore Lee Sipes and rookie Christian Glover all had four ground balls, as well.
- Merrimack’s 23 successful clears tied its single-game high, as the visitors were successful on 23-of-24 attempts (95.8%).
- Wednesday’s game was the first-ever meeting between Merrimack and Mercyhurst.
- Shots: 43-30 (27-16 SOG)
- EMO: 5-8 // 2-3
- Faceoffs: 16-8 // Ground Balls: 30-24
- Turnovers (CT): 17-14 (6-9) // Clears: 23-24 // 18-19
Merrimack advances to take on second-seeded Adelphi University in the national quarterfinals this Saturday (May 11) at Motamed Field. Game time is set for 1 p.m.