Chris Mason ’14, Staff Writer
After an up-and-down start to the men’s lacrosse season, the no. 8 ranked Warriors opened the month of April with five straight wins before a 12-10 senior day loss to the no. 1 team in the nation, Adelphi. The run has improved their record to 9-4 overall, and an impressive 8-2 in Northeast-10 action.
After winning their first two games to open the season, the Warriors dropped three of their next five and fell to 4-3. Since then they’ve rebounded nicely, rattling off four straight victories and showing the ability to win close games, as three of those wins have been in one-goal contests.
Offense has been a constant for the Warriors this season, especially during the most recent stretch of wins. They are averaging over 10 goals per contest, which is good for third in the conference. Merrimack is excelling at putting balls on net, as they’re outshooting opponents 244-172.
Perhaps what is most impressive is that their goals have come from all over the field this season. There are six different Warriors that have already notched at least 10 tallies through 11 games, though Merrimack doesn’t have a single player in the Northeast-10’s top 20 in scoring.
During their winning streak the Warriors have scored at least 11 goals three times, including in an important 11-10 win over no. 9 LIU Post. However, their most thrilling victory was an overtime thriller at Pace, another 11-10 score. Junior Andrew Vivan scored in sudden death to lift the Warriors to victory in that contest.
Merrimack has also benefited from exercising caution when they’ve had possession of the ball. Their 169 turnovers are the second fewest in the Northeast-10, and proof of a constant effort in regards to ball security. They’re also winning the ground ball battle, picking up 104 more than their competitors.
Sophomore Andrew Walsh has emerged as a standout at midfield. Walsh alone has scooped up 66 ground balls. He also sits fourth in the conference in faceoff wins, out-battling his opponent in 109 of his 173 draws thus far.
Another pleasant surprise this for the Warriors has been freshman Max Allen. The newfound fixture on the Warrior attack earned Northeast-10 Rookie of the Week honors, as he picked up six points in Merrimack’s two wins in the first week of April. Allen has picked up 14 goals in his first 11 collegiate contests.
Merrimack closes its 2014 regular season with a Saturday contest at Assumption before awaiting their NCAA destiny.