NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Trailing by a goal into the second half, the Merrimack College men’s soccer team was able to net two in the final 45 minutes, earning a birth in the Northeast-10 Conference Championship for the second straight year with a 2-1 victory over American International College.
Merrimack dominated possession early, but it was the visitors who struck first. A bending shot outside the 18 gave Connor Hicks and AIC the lead.
After nearly 30 minutes of scoreless play, it was senior Lars Sund whoo buried the equalizer; fifteen minutes later, sophomore Filippo Begliardi Ghidini headed a highlight-goal that sealed the deal.
Score: AIC 1, Merrimack 2
Records: Merrimack (13-5-0, 10-5-0 NE10) | AIC (7-9-2, 5-6-2 NE10)
Location: Martone-Mejail Field | North Andover, Mass.
How it Happened:
- The opening 10 minutes were a standstill; with a championship birth on the line, neither squad got a true shot off.
- In the 14th minute, Merrimack nearly opened up the scoring. A cross inside the box was one-timed in mid-air by senior Lars Sund, who side-volleyed a shot that was deflected by a Yellowjacket defender.
- AIC struck first in the 17th minute. After a physical play on a Merrimack clearance, sophomore Connor Hicks saw the ball roll right onto his foot; from the 18-yard box, he turned and fired a beautiful upper-90 shot that senior goaltender Tyler Packett just missed.
- Merrimack put on 10 shots at the half, but couldn’t get anything from it and trailed by a goal at the break.
- Just two minutes into the second half, the Warriors netted the equalizer. A set piece from 30 yards out was taken by senior Lars Sund; deep into the top right corner, confusion in the box combined with the perfectly-placed shot resulted in a goal.
- In the 64th minute, the Warriors took the lead. Freshman Tola Showunmi battled through the 18 and was able to leave a ball off for junior Aasmund Joedahl; his cross inside the 6-yard box looked to be well too high, but sophomore Filippo Begliardi Ghidini rose up and knocked the ball off the post and in, giving the Warriors a one-goal advantage.
Notes and Numbers
- The Warriors will head back to the NE10 Championship for the second straight year.
- Saturday’s win was the first come-from-behind victory since September 8, when the Warriors won in overtime against Post.
- Sunday’s game will be the first postseason game time that the team will have to travel since the 2017 semifinal.
- Merrimack is now 11-1 at home.
- Keeper records: – W, Tyler Packett (3 Saves, 13-5-0,) // L – Nicholas Romei (7 Saves, 7-9-2)
- Shots (SOG): MER – 16 (6) // AIC – 9 (4)
- Corners: MER – 4 // AIC – 8
Merrimack will travel to Adelphi this Sunday, November 4, for the NE10 Championship game. Kick-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.