By Eric Coburn ’18
Merrimack College field hockey scored an enormous win to punch their ticket to the NCAA Final Four for the fourth time in five seasons this past weekend on a freezing Saturday night. The Warriors claimed the victory in overtime against NE-10 rivals, Adelphi University, on a goal by sophomore Rylie Hammond.
In what was an evenly played game in the first half, Adelphi would be the first on the board scoring with just over one minute to play in the first half. The Warriors would regroup at halftime and come out controlling the pace of play for the rest of the game, applying constant pressure on Adelphi’s defense.
After many close opportunities, they would break through in the 52nd minute on a goal from Hammond off of a corner to even the score at 1-1. With either team unable to break the tie in the remaining minutes, the game would go into overtime.
In the sudden victory 7 v 7 overtime, Adelphi knocked on the doorstep with multiple high quality scoring opportunities, including a ball that senior goalkeeper Madison Davis kicked just wide of the post. However, the speed and conditioning of the Warriors would just prove to be too much. In the 6th minute of overtime, Hammond sprinted to a ball rolling to the corner applying pressure on Adelphi’s defender. In a rush as Hammond closed in on her, the Adelphi turned the ball over to freshman Mary McNeil creating a 2 on 1. McNeil slid the ball over to Hammond, who would not miss, putting home the game winner.
Merrimack will face off against another NE-10 rival and NE-10 tournament champions, Stonehill College, this Friday November 20th, in Bloomsburg Pennsylvania. The Warriors defeated Stonehill twice already this season by the scores of 4-3 and 4-2. If the Warriors defeat the Skyhawks for the third time this year, they will make their first ever National Championship appearance on Sunday.