NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Freshmen forwards Maura Doyle (Merrimac, Mass.) and Nicole Bradley (Essex, Mass.) connected for the game’s first goal just five minutes into regulation, but Stonehill’s Erika Kelly responded with a hat trick of her own to will the fourth-ranked Skyhawks to a 3-1 victory over the Merrimack College field hockey team on Tuesday night at Martone-Mejail Field.
Score: Stonehill 3, Merrimack 1
Records: Merrimack (2-3) | Stonehill (4-0)
Location: Martone-Mejail Field | North Andover, Mass.
How It Happened
The Warriors hopped out to an early lead thanks to the heroics of a pair of rookie forwards; after Merrimack was awarded a penalty corner just before the five-minute mark, Bradley took a pass at the top of the circle and maneuvered to her right before unloading a low shot. Waiting on the right side of the cage was Doyle, and the Essex, Mass., native managed to tap it past Stonehill goalkeeper Elizabeth Genovese for her first collegiate marker and the first goal of the game.
But Kelly – who brought in an astonishing seven goals in just two previous games beforehand – struck back seven minutes later, tapping in a rebound that popped off sophomore Madison Davis (San Jose, Calif.) for the equalizer at 12:52.
Both sides would exchange scoring chances over the remainder of the half but entered the intermission even at 1-1.
In the second, Merrimack again had its chances, suffering some bad luck on a rebounded shot that senior Candace Waldie (North Andover, Mass.) just missed punching in while also failing to capitalize on a pair of odd-man rushes. That, however, set up Kelly for more damage, and the league’s leading scorer tallied the game-winner at 48:43 off a penalty corner feed from Kelsey Davis to put the Skyhawks up for good. Kelly added one more insurance marker on a breakaway with less than 10 minutes to go, and that would stand for the final margin of victory.
What They Said
Head coach Anne Rounce: “I was certainly glad to see the girls respond in a big way from Saturday and I thought they all were being great teammates out there tonight. Stonehill is a very solid team and we matched their intensity throughout the contest. We had our chances but, overall, a much better effort than our last time out. We have two very big road games now starting with Saturday and we’ll have to be as sharp as today against a tough Assumption team.”
A Closer Look
- Merrimack held a slight lead in shots on goal, 10-9, but Genovese aided the visitors with a game-high nine saves
- Davis made a few huge stops of her own, including a couple on Kelly from point-blank range to keep the game tied over the course of the first half and early in the second. The sophomore finished with a career-best six stops in her second career start
- Offensively, sophomore Katrina Squeri (Chelmsford, Mass.) led the way with six shot attempts, while Waldie finished with four shots on target, all of which were turned aside by Genovese
- Merrimack held a commanding lead in penalty corners, 10-3, but the lone goal during a corner sequence came on Doyle’s tally early in the game
- Merrimack held a 19-12 edge in shot attempts
The Warriors take to the road for two straight tilts away from North Andover starting on Saturday, Sept. 21, when Merrimack faces Assumpton in Worcester, Mass. First whistle is set for 12 p.m.