NEW HAVEN, Conn.- The Merrimack men's soccer team closed out the 2010 regular season with a 3-2 loss at Southern Connecticut State Friday evening. The Warriors, who will await Saturday's result between Saint Michael's and Franklin Pierce, finished the year with an overall record of 9-7-1 and a 5-7-1 mark in the Northeast-10 Conference. The Owls improved to 12-2-2 on the yea r and 9-2-2 in the league.
If Franklin Pierce defeats Saint Michael's on Saturday, Merrimack will finish eighth in the conference and advance to the NE-10 Tournament, facing the top-seed Ravens in Rindge, NH on Tuesday. If Saint Michael's wins or ties, Merrimack will be eliminated from playoff contention.
Franklin Pena (Revere, Mass.) netted the game's opening score seven minutes in on an unassisted tally. Midway through the first half, Doural Scott tied the game on a goal assisted by Victor Hernandez. The two teams played the remainder of the first half with neither team able to take a lead into halftime.
Pena struck again to give Merrimack a 2-1 edge eight minutes after the break. Pena's second goal of the match came off an assist from Adam Leone (East Northport, N.Y.). The sophomore's score was his team-leading eighth of the season.
In the 68th minute, Southern Connecticut knotted the score at two goals per side. Paul Templeton converted a penalty kick to even the score with 21 minutes remaining. Hernandez gave the Owls their first lead of the game, finding the back of the net at the 73rd minute mark.
Kevin Joyce (Mansfield, Mass.) turned aside six shots in 68 minutes of work. Mattias Drummond (Partille, Sweden) made a pair of saves in relief action for the Warriors. Andrew Esposito stopped three shots in goal for Southern Connecticut.
The two teams were nearly level in shots and corner kicks for the game. The Owls owned a slight edge with 17 shots compared to 16 by Merrimack. The Warriors held the advantage in corner kicks, 5-4.
"We came out strong, netting the first goal of the match which is something we hadn't done in a while. The guys also started the second half well," said head coach Tony Martone. "It was nice to see Franklin score twice and return to the way that he had been playing in the beginning of the year."