NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – An 18-goal onslaught quickly erased any memory of the stuggles that plagued the Warriors last season as the Merrimack College women’s lacrosse team opened up 2015 with an exclamatory 18-11 victory over the University of Findlay on Tuesday evening from Martone-Mejail Field.
Score: Merrimack 18 | Findlay 11
Records: Merrimack (1-0, 0-0 NE-10) | Findlay (0-2, 0-0 GLIAC)
Location: Martone-Mejail Field | North Andover, Mass.
How It Happened
The Warriors opened up 2015 with the same non-conference opponent that they played in the season opener last season as the University of Findlay, of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, arrived in North Andover looking to avenge last year’s 16-15 double-overtime loss.
The game started off quickly for both teams, as each squad tallied a goal within the first two minutes of the game. The Oilers opened up the scoring less than one minute in off an Olivia Sherman tally. Just 1:50 into the game, redshirt freshman attacker Hunter McCarthy (Avon, Conn.) opened up the scoring to tie the game at 1-1. It was the first career goal for McCarthy.
Over the next 10 minutes, the teams scored six combined goals. The Warriors quickly scored two unanswered in a span of 49 seconds, with Morgan Walsh (Duxbury, Mass.)notching both goals, to make it 4-2 with 19:41 left in the half. Findlay would work its way back into the game though, scoring five of six goals with the final tally of that run coming with 3:26 to go in the half, and the Oilers led 8-6.
The Navy and Gold, however, ended the half strong. Merrimack tickled the twine twice in the final minute, with McCarthy netting the last goal, and the team’s entered halftime tied at eight goals apiece. McCarthy finished the half with three points (2g, 1a), while junior Shealyn Anthony (Stoneham, Mass.) and Walsh each had two goals.
In the second half, Merrimack asserted control over the game. The Warriors scored eight of the first nine goals of the second stanza, leading comfortably at 16-9 with 9:53 remaining in the contest. Freshman Valerie Dayton (Belmont, Mass.) notched a hat trick during the 8-1 run, with her final goal coming after a Findlay yellow card.
The final ten minutes passed without the Oilers posing a significant threat to Merrimack’s lead. Senior captain Kelly Metzger (Trumbull, Conn.) and junior Danielle Riley (West Point, N.Y.) each scored their first goals of the year to conclude the scoring for the Warriors. When it was all said and done, the Warriors walked away with the 18-11 win, the second consecutive season that Merrimack has won its season opener
Inside The Numbers
- What a debut for McCarthy. The redshirt freshman finished the night with a total of seven points (4g, 3a). She took seven shots, six of which were on goal, and she added two draw controls. Three of her four goals came off a free-position opportunity
- The clearing game made a significant impact on the outcome. In the opening half, the Warriors failed on four of their clears while the Oilers were a perfect 6-of-6. The transverse occurred in the second stanza, with Merrimack successful completing all six of its clears, but Findlay failed on six of its nine attempts
- Hat tricks galore: Three different players netted at least three goals, with sophomore Meghan Wiseman (Arlington, Mass.) joining McCarthy and Dayton with a trio of goals. McCarthy contributed three helpers, with Dayton and Wiseman each finishing the night with just three points
- The underclassmen led the Navy and Gold to victory, especially on offense. Of Merrimack’s 18 tallies and seven assists, 13 of the goals and four of the helpers came from student-athletes of sophomore or younger class standing. Dayton, McCarthy, Annette Ruggiero (Peabody, Mass.) and Walsh each scorer their first career goals
- Freshman goalie Alexa Petzold (Ridgewood, N.J.) was solid in her career debut. She totaled four saves and compiled a team-leading five ground balls to secure her first career win.
- The Warriors snapped a nine-game losing streak dating back to last season, while also scoring at least 18 goals in a game for the first time since April of 2013 when Merrimack scored 19 times in an 11-goal victory over Southern Connecticut
The Navy and Gold head to the Sunshine State, where the Warriors will play two games next week. The first contest will take place in Clearwater, Fla. where Merrimack will meet UVA-Wise in an out-of-conference clash. First draw control is set for 1 p.m.