FH: No. 8 Merrimack Blanks Franklin Pierce in Home Opener

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Freshman forward Rylee Hammond (Phillipston, Mass.) tallied the first two goals of her collegiate career, while sophomore Sarah Sparks (Falmouth, Maine)recorded a defensive save late in regulation to preserve the shutout, helping the eighth-ranked Merrimack College field hockey team blank Franklin Pierce, 3-0, in the team’s home and Northeast-10 Conference opener on Tuesday afternoon at Martone-Mejail Field.

The Basics
Score: #8 Merrimack 3,
 Franklin Pierce 0
Records: #8 Merrimack (2-1, 1-0 NE-10)
 | Franklin Pierce (2-1, 0-1 NE-10)
 Martone-Mejail Field | North Andover, Mass.

How It Happened
Both sides went toe-to-toe in the opening half that featured only four shot attempts apiece, but the Warriors came alive in the final 35 minutes and overwhelmed the Ravens with a multitude of scoring chances to eventually power their way to victory.

After an even opening 10 minutes, Merrimack broke through at the 12:18 mark of the first stanza, as Hammond tapped in a cross from junior Katrina Squeri (Chelmsford, Mass.) to put the hosts in front by one, and that marker wound up as the game-winner.

Leading by just one at the intermission, Merrimack came out firing on all cylinders in the second half, outshooting the visitors by a 26-4 margin while keeping most of the action in the Franklin Pierce defensive third.

At the 48:48 mark, Hammond and Squeri connected again for the former’s second collegiate strike, doubling the lead to 2-0 after deflecting in a shot on the left side of the cage.

Less than five minutes later, rookie Taylor Simpson (York, Maine) made a bid for her first career goal, but her chance rang off the right post; fortunately for Merrimack, that shot landed right at the stick of junior Sydney Bowker (Schenectady, N.Y.), who buried the rebound to wrap up the scoring.

Down the stretch, junior goalkeeper Madison Davis (San Jose, Calif.) made a fabulous sprawling save to preserve the shutout, while Sparks contributed a defensive save of her own moments earlier to lock up Merrimack’s first clean sheet of 2014.

Inside The Numbers

  • Holding a 13-2 edge in shots on goal, Merrimack wound up with a 30-8 edge in total shot attempts, with a game-high nine attempted from senior Katie Bishop (Conway, N.H.)
  • Merrimack also held a 17-5 advantage in penalty corners and converted a goal on one of them
  • Franklin Pierce netminder Meaghan Williams turned in 10 saves, while Davis finished with one

Up Next
Merrimack continues its season-long four-game homestand with a Friday (Sept. 19) afternoon battle against Southern Connecticut State. Opening whistle is set for 4:30 p.m.

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