NORTH ANDOVER, MA – Behind a nine-point performance by April Daugherty (Wakefield, RI), the #5 Merrimack field hockey team rolled to a 6-0 win over Saint Michael's Wednesday afternoon at Martone-Mejail Field. The victory ties the all-time program record as the Warriors improve to 13-1 overall and 7-0 in the Northeast-10 Conference. The Purple Knights fall to 4-11 on the year and 3-4 in the league.
With its seventh victory against a conference foe, Merrimack has sealed a spot in the Northeast-10 Conference playoffs. This marks the fourth season that the Warriors have advanced to postseason play.
Daugherty tallied her first goal of the game after 12:14 had elapsed. Daugherty knocked in a loose ball on the right post for her 14th of the season. The junior's score gave Merrimack a 1-0 lead.
With less than 15 minutes remaining in the opening frame, Daugherty netted her second goal of the day. Jen Otis (Penacook, NH) slotted a pass to Daugherty sprinting behind the Purple Knights' backline. The co-captain tapped a shot past the goalkeeper for the 2-0 edge.
Daugherty finished the hat trick with 7:19 remaining in the first period. Jamie Spano (Reading, MA) crossed the ball from the right wing to Daugherty in front of the cage. The junior redirected the pass into the net to extend Merrimack's lead to 3-0.
At the midway point of the contest, the Warriors owned a 3-0 edge. Merrimack outshot Saint Michael's 21-4 in the first half.
Just moments into the second stanza, Otis potted her first goal of the game. She dribbled the ball into the penalty area before blasting a shot into the cage to increase the Warriors' gap to 4-0.
Daugherty buried a rebound 20 minutes into the second half for Merrimack's fifth marker of the contest. After Jessica Otis (Pittsford, NY) had her shot saved, the junior pushed the second chance opportunity into the frame.
The goal tied Daugherty for the program's single season record with Jaclyn Germano as it was her 16th tally of the year. She also set the single-season mark with her 40th point of the 2011 campaign. Daugherty now sits at 97 career points after breaking the school-record after registering her 89th point in the Warriors' 5-3 win over Franklin Pierce the last time out.
Otis found the back of the net with just over 10 minutes to go in the game. Daugherty knocked the ball from the endline to the top of the penalty area for Otis to have an uncontested chance on goal. The junior notched her second score of the day to widen Merrimack's margin to 6-0.
The Warriors concluded the game with 43 shots and 27 bids on frame. The Purple Knights managed to take seven shots in the match.
Kerri Bergquist (Mashpee, MA) took over first-place on the career shutouts list with her eighth of the season and 15th of her career. Bergquist made four saves in the victory to improve to 13-1 between the pipes. Jackie Stacey stopped 20 shots in goal for the visitors.
"We played great right from the start today. We put them under a ton of pressure early on with some great looks on goal," said head coach Anne Rounce. "One of our goals this season was to make the playoffs and with the win today that goal was accomplished. We have many more goals set for this year and we'll need to work hard to achieve those."
Merrimack will seek to claim its 14th-consecutive win of the year as it visits American International in a vital Northeast-10 Conference tilt October 15.