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WORCESTER, MASS. – The Merrimack College women’s lacrosse team was seconds away from its first road win in Northeast-10 Conference play in nearly three years, but the Assumption College Greyhounds scored with 70 seconds to play to tie the contest before winning in overtime, 9-8, from the Multi-Sport Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Basics
Score: Merrimack 8
| Assumption 9
Records: Merrimack (3-4, 1-3 NE-10)
| Assumption (6-1, 2-1 NE-10)
Multi-Sport Stadium | Worcester, Mass.

How It Happened
The first half started similarly to how Merrimack’s last game went against No.  9 Stonehill, as Assumption scored the contests first two goals to lead 2-0 less than three minutes into the game.

At the 24:45 mark, freshman Carly McKenna (Saco, Maine) netted her first career goal to cut the deficit in half at 2-1. Unfortunately for the Navy and Gold, the Greyhounds responded with a 3-0 to make it a 5-1 game with 22:10 still to go in the opening stanza.

With less than 16 minutes to play in the half, freshman Annette Ruggiero (Peabody, Mass.) made her mark on the contest. Off a feed from fellow rookie Hunter McCarthy(Avon, Conn.), she scored her 11th of the season to make it a 5-2 game. The Warriors then won the ensuing draw control, with senior captain Kelly Metzger (Trumbull, Conn.)moving quickly towards the Assumption cage. She dished a feed to Ruggiero near the top of the crease, who potted her second goal in nine seconds to make it a 5-3 game.

The Greyhounds tacked on one more goal in the half to double up the Warriors at 6-3. With less than two minutes to play, McCarthy netted her first of the afternoon and team-leading 16th of the season on a free position to make it 6-4 entering halftime. Freshman goalkeeper Alexa Petzold (Ridgewood, N.J.) corralled four saves in the opening 30 minutes and the Navy and Gold only trailed by two despite losing nine of the first 11 draw controls of the game.

Merrimack came out firing in the second half, scoring the first three goals of the frame. Less than four minutes in, Danielle Riley (West Point, N.Y.) notched her fourth goal in the last three games to make it 6-5. Nearly 10 minutes would go by with neither team scoring, before McCarthy potted her second of the game to tie it up at 6-6. The redshirt freshman would score again with 12:47 to play in the half to give the Warriors their first lead of the game at 7-6.

Just 1:02 later, the Greyhounds answered. Molly Brown was awarded a free-position shot and capitalized, firing a shot past Petzold to tie the game at 7-7. Over six minutes would pass with neither team scoring, but Merrimack gained possession and provided an end to the drought. Junior Aubrie Stouffer (Souderton, Pa.) scored her first of the game on an unassisted drive to the cage and Merrimack was sitting pretty with an 8-7 advantage.

The Greyhounds proved to be a tough out. Amy McNeil, who had a quiet game up to this point, took the game into her own hands, scoring to tie the contest at 8-8 with 70 seconds remaining in the game. Neither team was able to score over the final minute of regulation and for the second time in three games, the Warriors went to overtime.

In the first three minutes of overtime, the Warriors held the ball for the entire time. With seven seconds to play before the teams switched sides, Metzger had a great opportunity near the top of the crease but had her shot blocked. The teams switched directions and with 29 seconds to play before sudden-death overtime, McNeil scored her second consecutive goal to make it 9-8. The Greyhounds got possession on the ensuing draw control and Merrimack did not get an attempt off to tie the game.

The hosts improved to 6-1 on the season while the Navy and Gold dropped to 3-4 on the year enduring its third straight defeat.

Inside The Numbers

  • McCarthy rebounded nicely after being held scoreless for the first time in her career on Thursday night. She now has hat tricks in five games this season and has tallied at least two goals in six of seven contests to begin her career
  • Petzold finished with eight saves, while corralling a team-leading four ground balls. Senior defender Olivia Coakley (Bridgewater, Mass.) led all field players for Merrimack with three ground balls
  • Ruggiero potted two goals while tying for the team lead with two draw controls. Coakley and Stouffer also snatched a pair of draw controls for the Warriors
  • Both teams struggled in the clearing game, with Merrimack failing four times and Assumption coughing up possession five times. The Greyhounds had a decisive 26-19 advantage in shots
  • Defender Allison Tivnan posted a solid effort for Assumption, picking up six ground balls, which is the most an opponent has had against the Navy and Gold this season

Up Next
The Warriors will continue a stretch that sees them play five home games in a span of six days when Merrimack plays Saint Michael’s on Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. from Martone-Mejail Field.

Mike McMahon is in his 13th year covering Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report. Mike also serves on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN

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