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Preview: Merrimack Field Hockey Kicks Off Season, Travels to Bentley

Links: Live Stats

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Coming off back-to-back 17-win campaigns, both of which included trips to the Northeast-10 Championship Final and the NCAA Final Four, as well as NE-10 regular season titles, the No. 5 Merrimack College field hockey team opens the 2013 campaign on the road Thursday night, traveling to eighth-ranked Bentley University under the lights at the Bentley Turf Field.

The Basics
 Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013 | 7 p.m.
 Merrimack (0-0) | Bentley (0-0)
 Bentley Turf Field | Waltham, Mass.

Last Time Out
Playing for the first time since last year’s NCAA National Semifinals, the Warriors take to the turf for the first time in 2013 after posting a 17-4 overall mark in the 2012 season.

Merrimack laid claim to yet another Northeast-10 Conference regular season title in 2012 after earning the first in school history back in the fall of 2011, and advanced to the NE-10 Championship Finals for the second year in a row as well. The Warriors earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament and posted the program’s first-ever victory in the Big Dance with a 3-2 win against Bentley in the tournament’s opening round last November.

Earning a second consecutive trip to the NCAA Division II Final Four thanks to that win over the Falcons, Merrimack fought valiantly but saw its season end in a 2-0 defeat to UMass Lowell back on Nov. 9, 2012. The Warriors were honored with six players earning NFHCA All-American honors, including two First-Team All-Americans.

The Warriors:

  • Posted a 17-4 overall record in 2012 and advanced to the NE-10 Finals and NCAA Final Four
  • Return 14-of-21 letterwinners from last year’s squad after graduating five seniors
  • Averaged a league-best 3.71 goals per game last fall and ranked first in the NE-10 with 78 goals and 52 assists
  • On defense, allowed just 1.28 goals per game, the second-best mark in the conference
  • Will turn to two new goalkeepers in either junior Gina Rosinski (Derry, N.H.) and sophomore Madison Davis (San Jose, Calif.) after 2012 alum and all-time Warrior great Kerri Bergquist graduated last May
  • Ranked fifth nationally in NFHCA Preseason Poll and first in NE-10 Coaches’ Preseason Poll

The Falcons:

  • Tabbed second in NE-10 Coaches’ Preseason Poll and eighth nationally in NFHCA Preseason Poll
  • Looking to replace the graduation of eight players from last year’s squad
  • Junior Gina Lirange (8g, 3a) and sophomores Meghan Talerman (6g) and Sally James (3g) combined for 17 of the team’s 35 goals last fall
  • Defensive sees the return of seniors Mollie Ricker, Melissa Martorelli and Nichole Black, who started every game last fall and helped post five shutouts and limit opponents to 1.79 goals per game
  • Sophomore Katie Kelley will start in net for the Falcons after logging just 32 minutes of action last fall
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