NORTH ANDOVER, MA – Reigning Division II National Coach of the Year Anne Rounce announced the Warriors 2012 schedule on Tuesday.
Led by All-American seniors April Daugherty (Lincoln, RI), Jen Otis (Penacook, NH), Kerri Bergquist (Mashpee, Mass.) and Katie Zubkus (Dover, NH), the Warriors travel to Pennsylvania for a pair of non-conference games on September 1 and 2 against defending National Champions West Chester and East Stroudsburg to open up the season.
"We are excited for the upcoming season to begin," stated Rounce. "We open up against two challenging Pennsylvania teams, East Stroudsburg and defending National Champions West Chester, before coming up to play against a tough NE-10 schedule. However, we are looking forward to the challenges that will be presented to us in the 2012 season."
Merrimack will stay on the road to take on rival Bentley on September 6 before returning home for two home contests against Saint Michael's and Franklin Pierce on September 12 and September 18 respectively.
The Warriors will close out September with two home conference matchups against St. Anselm and Assumption and a road contest at Stonehill. October will open up with three home conference games in the first five games, playing host to Bentley, Stonehill and American International.
The defending Northeast-10 Conference regular season Champions will close out their 2012 regular season with a showdown on the road at UMass Lowell on October 16 and on the road at Adelphi on October 20.
"Our expectations are to continue to establish a hard working, winning culture within our field hockey program," said Rounce.
The Warriors posted a 17-3 overall record in 2011, setting a school-record for wins, and clinched their first-ever Northeast-10 Conference Regular Season crown with a 10-0 mark in the league. Many other firsts occurred during the Warriors most successful campaign in school history including their first-ever NCAA Tournament bid, receiving a bye into the Final Four.
The Warriors will return their top three scorers from last season including Northeast-10 Player of the Year and first team All-American, Daugherty, who set the school record for points in a career as a junior. Senior Jen Otis also returns to the Warriors after recording 13 goals last season.
Holding down the backend for the Warriors will be arguably the best goaltender in Merrimack history, Bergquist. In 2011, Bergquist was named first team All-American, Northeast-10 Conference Goalie of the Year and broke the school records for wins and shutouts in a season with 17 and nine respectively.
The Warriors will welcome eight freshmen to Northeast-10 Regular Season Championship team that lost only five players to graduation following the record setting 2011 campaign.
"I am excited to have Assistant Coach Meg Hildebrand returning to anchor our defensive unit," said Rounce. "Overall we have expectations for everyone to do their role to help achieve our ultimate team goal of a Northeast-10 Championship and National Championship. While we have a lot of returning key players, we are also looking for underclassmen to fill positions to have a successful season."
This is the seventh in a series of Merrimack team schedule releases. Check back regularly at www.merrimackathletics.com to view upcoming team previews and schedule releases.
August 6: Cross Country
August 7: Women's Golf
August 8: Women's Crew
August 9: Volleyball
August 10: Men's Soccer
August 13: Women's Soccer
August 14: Field Hockey
August 15: Football
August 16: Tennis