TOWSON, Md. – Trailing by four-goal margins on two separate occasions, the eighth-ranked Merrimack College men’s lacrosse team roared back with four goals over the last five minutes of regulation and clawed to within one with 1:22 to play, but fifth-ranked Limestone repelled the late charge and held on to hand the Warriors their first loss of the season, 8-7, on Sunday afternoon at Loyola Blakefield High School in Maryland.
Score: #5 Limestone 8, #8 Merrimack 7
Records: Merrimack (2-1) | Limestone (5-1)
Location: Loyola Blakefield H.S. | Towson, Md.
How It Happened
In a matchup that featured two of the top teams from the North and South region, respectively, Merrimack and Limestone traded goals over the course of the first half, highlighted by the Warriors answering a 3-1 deficit with two straight tallies to draw even before the Saints responded with one of their own, as Merrimack entered halftime down only by a goal (4-3).
The deciding frame of the game, however, was the third, as Limestone put up three markers in the span of 2:44 and kept Merrimack in check the entirety of the quarter, putting the Saints on top by four (7-3) heading into the final stanza.
Both sides’ defenses held each offense in check through the first 10 minutes of the fourth quarter until sophomore Ryan Poirier (Warwick, R.I.) buried one of his game-leading three strikes at 5:07 to pull the Navy and Gold to within three (7-4).
Limestone responded with a huge insurance goal just 25 seconds later, pushing the deficit back up to four. Merrimack then answered with three uninterrupted markers, with Poirier starting the rally with an unassisted tally at 3:36 before freshman Max Allen (West Caldwell, N.J.)connected for a man-up marker less than a minute later.
Finally, sophomore Tim Towler (Topsfield, Mass.) made it a one-goal game with another unassisted goal with 1:22 to go in the contest and sophomore Andrew Walsh (Derry, N.H.)promptly won the ensuing faceoff to give the Warriors an opportunity to draw even.
Unfortunately, Merrimack’s final two shots of the game never made it to the net, as Limestone’s defense came up with two important blocks, allowing the Saints to run out the clock afterward.
What They Said
Head Coach Mike Morgan: “We were sloppy early, we committed too many turnovers today. We didn’t get going until the fourth quarter and by then, it was too late.”
Inside the Numbers
- Poirier (3) and Towler (2) combined for five of the seven Warrior tallies on Sunday, accounting for the only two Merrimack multiple-goal scorers on the afternoon
- Allen and sophomore James Caruso (Needham, Mass.) also found the back of the net for Merrimack, which saw all of its scoring on Sunday come exclusively from underclassmen
- Freshman Tucker Schwarz (Tallahassee, Fla.) stretched his point streak to three games after adding an assist on Merrimack’s second-to-last goal of the contest
- Junior Morgan Green (Portsmouth, R.I.) finished with five saves between the pipes for Merrimack, while Limestone’s Patrick Sheridan posted an impressive 12 stops for the Saints
- Walsh continued his dominant start to the season on the X, winning 13-of-17 (76.5 %) of his faceoff opportunities on Sunday
- Each side was limited to just one man-up goal, with the Warriors finishing 1-for-8 in man-up situations while holding Limestone to just 1-of-3 on extra-man opportunities
- Merriack outshot the Saints by a 44-24 margin (19-13 SOG), including advantages of 13-6 and 17-5, respectively, in the first and fourth periods
Merrimack will enjoy a six-day layoff before returning to league play next Saturday (March 15), as the Warriors welcome Saint Michael’s for a Northeast-10 Conference matchup at Martone-Mejail Field. Opening faceoff is set for 4 p.m.