NORTH ANDOVER, MA – The Merrimack men's soccer team erased a one-goal halftime deficit to prevail 4-2 over Le Moyne on a soggy Wednesday afternoon at Martone-Mejail Field. The Warriors boost their overall record to 8-5-2 with a 6-4-0 mark in the Northeast-10 Conference. The Dolphins dive to 8-6-1 on the season and 7-3 in league matches.
Le Moyne tacked on a goal shortly after the kick-off. Perry Clark served a cross to the back post from the left wing to Michael Spadine. Spadine headed the ball into the left side of the net for his ninth marker of the season 1:22 into the match.
Evan Burokas (Auburn, MA) nearly buried an equalizer in the eighth minute of play. Burokas' free kick hit the left post before a defender cleared the ball.
At the end of the opening frame, the Warriors owned an 8-4 edge in shots while each side registered three attempts on goal.
Merrimack leveled the contest at a goal each in the 53rd minute as Robbie Sabadoz (Ottawa, ON) found the back of the net. Franklin Pena (San Salvador, El Salvador) dribbled the ball across the field to the left side of the penalty box before crossing it. Pena's centering pass skidded by the visitors' goalkeeper to Sabadoz who tapped it in for his seventh of the year. The senior also became the third player in program history to collect 100 points with the score.
The Warriors grabbed the lead for the first time in the match in the 73rd minute. Francis Mulkern (Scituate, MA) slipped a shot into the right corner of the goal to give Merrimack a 2-1 advantage. Sabadoz picked up an assist on Mulkern's team-leading eighth tally of the fall.
Mulkern and Sabadoz connected for the Warriors' third score on the day with 12:55 remaining. Sabadoz outran the goalkeeper to a loose ball on the right flank and directed the ball on frame from the right corner of the box. Mulkern knocked the ball into the open cage after racing past a defender for his ninth goal of the season and second in the match.
Le Moyne pulled to within one as Spadine netted his second of the game. After settling a lofted pass from the right side, Spadine fired a shot into the right corner of the frame for his 10th on the year.
With less than a minute to play in regulation, the Dolphins earned a corner kick and overloaded the penalty area with ten players including the goalkeeper as they pressed for a late goal to even the score. Merrimack goalkeeper Mattias Drummond (Partille, Sweden) confidently came off of his line to punch the ball out of the penalty box to deny Le Moyne a scoring chance.
Pena gathered the loose ball on the right wing and cleverly poked it around a defender. With a wide-open goal on the opposite end, the junior dribbled the ball over midfield before drawing two defenders. Pena slid the ball into the center of the pitch to Nelson Santos Da Graca (Gothenburg, Sweden) who hustled to catch up to Pena and provide support. Santos Da Graca carried the ball to the top of the penalty box then guided a shot into the middle of the net to seal the victory.
The Warriors concluded the match with a 22-14 margin in shots while doubling up the Dolphins in shots on goal, 12-6. Le Moyne earned six corner kicks in the game while Merrimack registered four.
Drummond finished with four saves between the pipes for the hosts en route to his eighth win of the 2011 campaign. Matthew Silva stopped eight shots in goal for the visiting team.
"This was a very important win for us today and I was proud of the way our team responded in the second half," said head coach Tony Martone. "We didn't have a great first half but we came out strong in the second half with a lot of offensive pressure. Our defense settled in and did a great job of stepping in front of shots and forwards to intercept passes."
The Warriors will square off against Bentley in the final home game of the season on Homecoming, October 22. Merrimack will honor its 10 members of the class of 2012 prior to the start.