BROOKLINE, Mass. – Making its Division I debut on Monday night, the Merrimack College men’s soccer program immediately proved they belonged with a 2-1 victory over Northeastern University at Parsons Field in Brookline, Mass. The Warriors trailed early, 1-0, but recovered to score twice in the second half headlined by sophomore Tola Showunmi’s header with less than 15 minutes remaining that proved to be the game-winning goal.
Merrimack and Northeastern endured a near two-hour delay as lightning struck at halftime that forced the 5 p.m. kickoff to not conclude until nearly four hours after the first half started. Freshman Marc Torrellas started the scoring in the second by netting the equalizer before Showunmi potted the winner off a corner kick from another rookie, Alessandro Negri. Graduate student Lucas Rezende made two saves in the win.
Score: Merrimack 2, Northeastern 1
Records: Merrimack (1-0) | Northeastern (0-2)
Location: Parsons Field | Brookline, Mass.
How it Happened:
- Merrimack attempted four corner kicks over the first 18 minutes, but could not pot its first goal of the night. The Huskies found the back of the net in the 21st minute as play built up inside the 18-yard box, where Benjamin Klingen finished a shot within 10 yards of goal to make it a 1-0 contest
- Junior Filippo Begliardi Ghidini came on in the 25th minute and recorded a pair of dangerous chances. Less than three minutes after taking the field, he nearly finished a cross by senior Sebastian Toro but pushed a shot wide. In the 39th minute, Beliardi Ghidini stuck a free kick from 20 yards out, but the Northeastern keeper made a diving save
- Halftime came with the score sitting at 1-0, and the team’s endured a delay of nearly two hours before resuming play shortly before eight o’clock
- The Warriors controlled play in the second half, leading quickly to their first goal. The visitors won a free kick, and an ensuing loose ball made its way to freshman Marc Torrellas who snuck a half-volley past Northeastern’s keeper to tie the game, 1-1
- Possession remained in favor of the Warriors as Merrimack prevented the Huskies from attempting a shot through the 75th minute. In the 77thminute, the Warriors won another corner that led to the go-ahead strike. Negri sent a left-footed corner to the far post where Showunmi headed a shot that bounced into the open net
- The final 10 minutes saw Rezende step up. In the 80th minute he rose above multiple Huskies attackers to punch a cross away. He followed that up with diving stop to his right in the 88th minute, which was the hosts’ last attempt on goal
Notes and Numbers
- Merrimack has now won its season opener in eight consecutive seasons.
- The Warriors controlled the majority of possession and won 10 more corners than the Huskies did (12-2)
- Showunmi’s marker registered as the eighth of his career after leading Merrimack with seven goals and 15 points last year as a rookie
- Negri and Torrellas were two newcomers who made their team debuts on Monday; Sophomore Stefano Pesenti also made his first career appearance as a member of the starting 11. Classmate Sean O’Neill made his first career start after making only two appearances in 2018
- Rezende returned to the lineup after missing all of last season due to injury; the graduate student was the starting keeper on Merrimack’s 2017 Northeast-10 Championship winning squad
- The Warriors’ defense impressed in the second half, holding Northeastern without a second-half shot until the 81st minute
- Keeper records: – W, Rezende (2 Saves, 1-0-0,) // L – Chandler Cree (0-1-0)
- Shots (SOG): MER – 11 (4) // NU – 9 (3)
- Corners: MER – 12 // NU – 2
For the first time in program history, the Warriors will visit Georgia Southern on Friday night at 7 p.m. in Statesboro, Ga. The contest will be played at Eagle Field – Erk Park on the Eagles’ campus.