NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Trailing by a goal early in the first half, the No. 8 Merrimack field hockey team reeled off three unanswered tallies to down Saint Anselm, 4-2, on Sunday afternoon at Martone-Mejail Field.
Winners of seven straight, the Warriors improve to 7-1 with a 2-0 mark in Northeast-10 Conference action, while the Hawks fall to 3-6 overall and 1-1 in the NE-10.
Most of the offense between both sides came in the first 35 minutes of action on Sunday, as the two teams combined for five goals in the first half.
Merrimack opened the scoring at 9:45, but the visitors responded with back-to-back strikes within two minutes to take a 2-1 edge. But after the Warriors answered with the tying strike at 17:11, Merrimack would retake the lead in the 23rd minute before sealing the match with an insurance goal midway through the second half.
Junior Jessica Otis (Pittsford, N.Y.) got the home side on the board with her fifth marker of the year 10 minutes into the contest. The midfielder sliced through the Saint A's defense and unloaded a shot that dribbled into the cage along the right side to put Merrimack ahead, 1-0.
But the Hawks responded just over a minute later, as Canada Stewart tied the match with her fourth goal of the season on a pass from Elizabeth Sears. Two minutes later, the duo combined again for another strike, this time with Sears finding the back of the cage after a deflected pass from Stewart reached the left side of the goalmouth, giving the Hawks a 2-1 lead early in the first half.
Five minutes later, however, Merrimack responded on an April Daugherty (Wakefield, R.I.) strike, as the senior captain took long pass from sophomore Abbey Stacey (Messalonskee, Maine) and buried it on the right side of the net to tie the contest at 2-2.
Leading scorer Candace Waldie (North Andover, Mass.) gave the home side a lead it would never relinquish at 22:13, as freshman Christine Zubkus (Dover, N.H.) ripped a shot from the left side that Waldie managed to deflect in for the game-winning tally.
Neither side would light up the scoreboard for the remainder of the half, as the Warriors took a 3-2 lead into the break. Merrimack owned a commanding 28-9 advantage in shot attempts, but Saint Anselm netminder Megan Sullivan came up with 11 of her 15 saves of the game during the first stanza.
The Warriors came out strong to start the second half, as the defense limited the Hawks to only four shot attempts in the final 35 minutes.
Merrimack added another late strike after senior Jen Otis (Penacook, N.H.) was awarded a penalty stroke at 51:14, and the senior captain promptly buried it to account for the final goal of the game.
Senior goalkeeper Kerri Bergquist (Mashpee, Mass.) finished with four saves in net, as the Warriors saw a stretch of four straight games and over 300 minutes without allowing a goal come to an end at 314:34.
The Warriors held a 16-6 advantage in penalty corners and a commanding 52-13 lead in shot attempts over the course of the match, with 21 shots on target. Saint A's defender Kathleen DeVylder finished with two defensive saves to aid Sullivan, as well.
Next up, the Warriors welcome conference foe Assumption to Martone-Mejail Field for a Wednesday (Sept. 26) night showdown, with first whistle set for 7 p.m.