NORTH ANDOVER, Mass.- The No. 16 Merrimack men's soccer team tallied three first half goals to propel them to a 3-0 victory over Stonehill. The Warriors extend their winning-streak to six games as they improve to 6-0-0 on the season and 2-0-0 against Northeast-10 teams. The Skyhawks sink to 3-2-1 on the year and 1-2-1 in the conference.
In the opening minutes of the first half, Robbie Sabadoz (Ottawa, Ontario) had Merrimack's first chance on goal. Evan Burokas (Auburn, Mass.) played a ball behind the Stonehill defense for Sabadoz to run onto. The junior co-captain settled the ball and shot it past the goalkeeper but the ball hit the outside of the post and trickled out of bounds.
Senior Kevin Joyce (Mansfield, Mass.) assured his presence in goal for Merrimack in the early goings. Joyce came off his line to meet Stonehill's Michael White on a fifty-fifty ball. White tried to send the ball over Joyce's head but the senior netminder denied the opportunity to keep the game at 0-0.
After 23 minutes of scoreless soccer, the Warriors broke through as freshman Francis Mulkern (Scituate, Mass.) netted his first collegiate goal. Olof Lindhe's (Stockholm, Sweden) cross from the right flank was nabbed by the Skyhawks' netminder. When the goalkeeper lost control of the ball, Mulkern was in the right place to bury the ball in the back of the net.
The Warriors jumped out to a 2-0 lead with 15 minutes remaining in the opening period. Lindhe latched on the end of a corner kick from Burokas and headed it into the goal for his third goal of the 2010 season.
Joyce kept Stonehill off the board with another big save on White in the first half. White sent a glancing header towards the bottom corner but Joyce dove and got his fingertips on it to turn it away.
Sabadoz added Merrimack's third goal of the first half with seven minutes to play before intermission. The Warriors earned a corner kick on the left side of the field, enabling them to produce a scoring opportunity. Burokas played a short corner to Sabadoz who took the ball from the flank to the top of the penalty box. Sabadoz sent a shot through the traffic in front of the net that caromed off of a defender and into the goal.
The two squads battled it out in the second but neither side could notch a goal. Merrimack held a slight edge in shots, 14-12.
Joyce finished the game with five saves to his credit for Merrimack, earning his third clean sheet of the year. Brandon McFarlane matched Joyce with a five-save performance of his own.
The Warriors will face their first top 25 opponent of the season as they travel to Rindge, N.H. to take on No. 25 Franklin Pierce.
Francis Mulkern on his first collegiate goal.
Head Coach Tony Martone comments on the team's 3-0 win over Stonehill.