Pat Bradley ’14, Staff Writer
Merrimack field hockey faces the UMass Lowell River Hawks today in a Final Four match at the Cushing Athletic Complex in Lowell.
The games comes on the heels of a 3-2 victory over Bentley on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA tourney. A victory over No. 5 ranked UMass Lowell on the road clinched the Northeast-10 Division title for the No. 7 ranked Warriors. After winning the title last season, Merrimack went on to make the NCAA Tournament.
A victory on the road against the arch-rival Riverhawks is no small feat though, as this marks the first victory for Merrimack at Lowell since 2005. Clinching the division title two straight years while competing against such competitive squads like UMass Lowell is nothing to scoff at.
“Everyone has been working extremely hard and I am glad to see it’s paying off … it’s a big step for this program,” said head coach Anne Rounce. Asked about what the 2-1 victory said about her team, Rounce described it as “special.” “Our team illustrated it has a lot of character and heart,” she said. “I was very proud of the team for their composed yet aggressive and relentless play on the field.” While hard work is what fields results during games, Rounce knows all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
To prevent overworking her already diligent team, she instituted a little bit of fun into the pregame routine that has helped her team’s chemistry and success. “We play pinny tag with about 15 minutes to go in our pregame,” explains Rounce. “It has gotten pretty intense (and most importantly) the girls have a lot of fun with it.” Allowing the team to simply relax and have fun together was seemingly the final piece to the puzzle for the 15-2 Northeast-10 regular season champions. “Our ladies’ strength is their passion and love for the sport,” said Rounce, “but they really just enjoy playing the sport together.
It is all about being a fam