#4 Field Hockey Falls to #5 Lowell 3-2 in Northeast-10 Conference Tournament Championship
NORTH ANDOVER, MA- The #4 Merrimack field hockey team dropped a 3-2 decision to #5 UMass Lowell in the championship game of the 2011 Northeast-10 Conference Tournament Monday evening at Martone-Mejail Field. The Warriors dip to 17-2 on the season as their program-record 17-game winning streak ends. The River Hawks rise to 17-3 overall after clinching their seventh Northeast-10 Conference Tournament title.
Top-seeded Merrimack grabbed a quick 1-0 lead as Candace Waldie (North Andover, MA) potted her fifth goal of the year. Waldie batted in a rebound after a flurry of shots in front of the cage less than five minutes into the contest.
April Daugherty (Wakefield, RI) tipped in a long-range shot from Victoria DeLacey (Charlton, MA) to double the hosts lead 15 minutes after the start. The goal was Daugherty's 22nd of the campaign while DeLacey picked up her third assist.
The Warriors carried the two-goal advantage into halftime. The River Hawks owned a 15-3 edge in shots and 9-2 margin in penalty corners through 35 minutes of play.
With 17:12 remaining in the game, Melissa Effertz notched UMass Lowell's first goal of the night to cut the deficit to 2-1 as she tipped a shot from Rachel McCarthy into the net.
Kayla Littig, the recipient of the 2011 Northeast-10 Tournament Most Outstanding Player award, leveled the score 47 seconds later with a tip-in on McCarthy's blast from the left side.
The River Hawks claimed their first lead of the game with 10:35 left to play. McCarthy sent a cross into the middle of the penalty area from the right wing. McCarthy's centering pass found Effertz unmarked in front of the cage. Effertz settled the ball and then sent it into the right corner to lift Lowell to a 3-2 lead.
The visitors finished with 22 shots in the game while Merrimack registered eight. The River Hawks earned 12 penalty corners in the contest and the Warriors were awarded four.
Kerri Bergquist (Mashpee, MA) made eight saves in the match for the Warriors. Melanie Hopkins stopped five shots in goal for Lowell on the night.
"Our mental errors hurt us tonight. I was extremely proud of the sportsmanship that our players showed tonight," said head coach Anne Rounce. "I thought we played really well in the first half but our focus dropped off in the second."
Merrimack will now await to learn if its season continues on into the NCAA Tournament as the NCAA Selection Show will air later tonight at 9:30 pm on www.ncaa.com. The Warriors are looking to make their first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.