SYRACUSE, NY – The Merrimack men's lacrosse team became the first team to defeat Le Moyne at home in consecutive games since 2002-03 as the Warriors prevailed 7-6, advancing to the Northeast-10 Championship on Sunday at Adelphi.
The fifth seed in the tournament, Merrimack (11-5) will defend its Northeast-10 title against the second-seed Panthers on Sunday at 3 p.m., looking to become the first #5 seed to ever win the men's lacrosse NE-10 title.
For the top-ranked Dolphins, it was the second straight postseason they fell to Merrimack in Syracuse. Le Moyne is now 45-3 at home since 2006.
The win, which was the 50th in the four-year coaching tenure of Mike Morgan, makes Merrimack's coach the first-ever Division II head coach to reach 50 wins in just four seasons as a head coach.
"The team played really well," said Morgan. "We came out strong, shooting the lights out and played with confidence. They came back in the second half, but we didn't give in and getting that fourth quarter goal was big."
The Warriors dominated early, scoring as many goals in the first quarter as they did in their April 16 6-4 loss to Le Moyne. Merrimack controlled the ball for virtually the entire first eight minutes, as the visitors built a 3-0 lead behind goals from Greg Melaugh (Billerica, MA), Matt Klepper (Manlius, NY) and Brad McAdam (Neshanic Station, NJ) and two assists from Mike Perdie (Wading River, NY). Nick Maggio (Winchester, MA) won all six first-quarter draws as Merrimack outshot Le Moyne 12-3 in the first 15 minutes.
The visitors led 6-2 at one point in the second as both teams tallied two goals each before the half with Corey Lunney (Little Silver, NJ) netting both for Merrimack.
But Le Moyne answered back in the third with a pair of goals to cut Merrimack's lead to 6-5 with 15 minutes to play. The regular season champs outshot Merrimack 10-7 in the third, forcing Connor Reagan (East Lyme, CT) to make three third-quarter stops, his first and only three of the game.
McAdam opened the fourth with a big man-advantage goal at 1:40, taking a feed from Paul Jones (Guilderland, NY) and extending the Warriors' lead to two at 7-5.
From there, Merrimack survived two lengthy offensive sequences from the Dolphins, with Pete Schielke (Ridgefield, CT) causing a turnover on one of them, and ran down significant time in the Le Moyne zone, holding possession for most of the game's final five minutes.
Le Moyne made it a one-goal game as Tyler Sennett scored with 15 seconds left, but Maggio won the ensuing faceoff, and the Warriors prevailed with their second one-goal playoff win of the Northeast-10 Tournament.
McAdam netted two goals and seven ground balls in the win, notching the game-winning goal in Syracuse for the second straight season. Lunney also scored twice, while Perdie dished out two assists.
Reagan finished with three saves, all in the third quarter as Le Moyne outshot Merrimack 32-30, 18-10 in the second half but managed just nine shots on net in the loss.
Maggio was dominant on face offs, winning 13-of-17 draws. His last ground ball, his sixth of the game, was his 131st on the year, which tied the school record, held by Nolan Godfrey.
Merrimack fell to Adelphi 10-8 on April 9, as Eric Janssen stopped 16 shots for the Panthers in goal.