Eric Coburn ’18
In a repeat of their 2015 campaigns, the Merrimack College men’s soccer and field hockey teams are moving on to the NE-10 Conference semifinals after quarterfinal wins on Nov. 1.
The #5 field hockey squad played first, squaring off at #4 Adelphi University against the Panthers. In an incredibly defensive game, the Warriors lone goal of the game came off of the stick of leading scorer, junior Rylie Hammond. Hammond also scored the game winner in last year’s NCAA quarterfinal game against Adelphi. The Warriors would hold off the Panthers the rest of the way.
After starting the year 0-4, the Warriors have picked up play winning the last six of seven games posting a .857 goals against average in that span. A part of this can be credited to the defensive play and to freshman goalie Kiki Ohmen, who was recently named to the NE-10 All-Rookie team. The offense has also picked up, posting a 2.428 goals a game average in that same span which holds well for the Warriors that both the offense and defense are at their best at the most important part of a season.
Next up for the Warriors is the top seeded Saint Anselm Hawks, who the Warriors beat in their regular season finale 4-1.
“We are confident, but not overconfident,” said senior defender Sarah Sparks. “We know the NE-10 is unpredictable and we will enter the game with the right amount of confidence and the right game plan.”
In the other quarterfinal match that Merrimack competed in Tuesday, Nov. 1, the #2 men’s soccer team took down the #7 American International College Yellow Jackets by a score of 2-0. In a chippy and emotional game, the Warriors saw their goals come from set pieces from two seniors, Joe Briers and Jaime Cortes Torres.
The back line was notably stellar for the Warriors, allowing zero shots on net and zero corner kicks.
“The past few games, our defense has really stepped it up and worked cohesively as a group to stop our opponent,” said senior captain Connor O’Brien. “Throughout the season we had a lot of injuries to the back line, but now people are returning and we have the consistency we want just in time for playoffs.”
Next for the Warriors in the semi-finals is the Le Moyne College Dolphins. The Warriors defeated the Dolphins 2-1 after falling behind 1-0 in the contest early. The squad is looking for a similar result in Friday’s contest.
“Le Moyne always battles us hard, but as long as we all lock in and play how we know we can than we stand a great shot of reaching the finals. Every single player has risen to the occasion the past couple weeks and we all trust one another to execute a great game plan against Le Moyne,” said O’Brien.