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NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The Merrimack College women’s lacrosse team scampered out to a 7-1 advantage and held a 7-3 lead at halftime, but the visiting Franklin Pierce Ravens successfully completed a second-half comeback, eventually winning 12-11 in overtime from Martone-Mejail Field on Tuesday evening.

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The Basics
Score: Merrimack 11
| Franklin Pierce 12
Records: Merrimack (3-2, 1-1 NE-10)
| Franklin Pierce (3-1, 1-1 NE-10)
Martone-Mejail Field | North Andover, Mass.

How It Happened
The Warriors and Ravens not only had to battle each other, but the elements as well. About 10 minutes into the game, rain started to come down at Martone-Mejail Field. Eventually the rain turned into a freezing rain and sleet. The storm subsided in the second half, as the two squads played under the sunlight for the second half and overtime.

The Ravens actually opened up the scoring as less than three minutes into the game, Caitlyn Sweeney netted one for the visitors. The Warriors quickly collected themselves and responded with a 7-0 run. The Ravens did score for a span of nearly 23 minutes. Freshman Annette Ruggiero (Peabody, Mass.) began the scoring at the 26:09 mark of the first half, off a feed from Danielle Riley (West Point, N.Y.).

Over the run, Ruggiero scored twice while Riley potted two goals. The final goal of the run came with 4:56 to play in the half as senior captain Kelly Metzger (Trumbull, Conn.) scored her second of the season and first since the opening game of the year.

The Ravens scored the final two goals of the half to make it 7-3 entering the intermission. The Warriors totaled all nine draw controls in the opening 30 minutes, missing on only one clear.

In the second half, the visitors began to work their way back into the game. The Ravens scored the first three goals of the second stanza, including the final goal of the run on the man advantage, to make the game 7-6 with less than 19 minutes remaining in regulation. Redshirt freshman Hunter McCarthy (Avon, Conn.), recently named the Northeast-10 Conference Rookie of the Week for the second straight time, snapped the run with a goal at the 17:43 mark, her first of the game.

Merrimack would build its lead back to three goals after a goal strangely bounced into the cage off a deflection. Sophomore Meghan Wiseman (Arlington, Mass.) was credited with the tally. Franklin Pierce scored the next two, as twin sisters Briana and Caitlyn Sweeney scored consecutively to make it a one-goal game at 9-8 with 7:13 left.

McCarthy ended the spurt for the Ravens with her second goal of the game to make it 10-8, but Franklin Pierce would not go away quietly. Caitlyn Sweeney scored twice in the final three minutes, including a behind-the-back goal to tie the game at 10 and send the contest to overtime.

In the extra six minutes, the Warriors got on the board first with Wiseman potting an easy goal from the top of the crease, off an assist from Metzger. With 4:47 to play, Nicole Dale tallied the goal that tied it at 11 before Caitlyn Sweeney scored her sixth and final goal off a free position to give the Ravens the 12-11 win.

Inside The Numbers

  • Ruggiero put forth another strong effort, totaling a career-high four points, including her first two career assists. She joins McCarthy and Aubrie Stouffer (Souderton, Pa.)as players with at least 10 points this season. The rookie also led the team with five draw controls
  • Riley posted a strong overall day on both ends of the field. She totaled three points (2g, 1a), one ground ball, three draw controls and two caused turnovers
  • Freshman goalkeeper Alexa Petzold (Ridgewood, N.J.) posted the most saves of the season with seven against the Ravens. She has played every minute between the pipes for the Warriors this season
  • The Ravens’ ability to improve on the draw control was critical in the comeback. Merrimack won all nine draw controls in the opening half, but Franklin Pierce fought back to win nine of the final 16 draw controls of the game
  • Franklin Pierce as made a goalie change to begin the second half, going with Julia Coakley between the pipes for the final 36 minutes. She totaled four saves, playing against her sister, Merrimack’s senior captain Olivia Coakley (Bridgewater, Mass.)

Up Next
The Navy and Gold conclude its three-game homestand on Thursday when No. 9 Stonehill arrives at Martone-Mejail Field to renew the conference rivalry. First draw control is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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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