RINDGE, N.H. – Freshman back Douglas Searl (Westford, Mass.) scored the game's only goal in the 79th minute, propelling the Merrimack men's soccer team to its sixth straight victory, as the Warriors posted a 1-0 decision on the road against Franklin Pierce in a pivotal Northeast-10 Conference showdown on Wednesday night in Rindge, N.H.
Tying the third-most amount of consecutive wins in program history, the Warriors (8-2-1, 6-2 NE-10) picked up their fourth road win of the season and also overtook the Ravens (8-3, 6-2 NE-10) for sole possession of third place in the NE-10 standings.
After holding a 5-2 advantage in shot attempts in the first half but coming away with nothing on the scoreboard, Merrimack continued to press in the second half before finally breaking through with Searl's first collegiate marker at 78:30, and that would be all the offense that sophomore goalkeeper Jose Silva (Northborough, Mass.) would need to preserve the victory in net.
"Things keep going right for us, and we're getting all the bounces right now," head coach Tony Martone said after the win. "I think that's a big testament to the veteran guys on this team, to our goalkeeper who's playing well beyond his years, and to all the unexpected heroes who keep chipping in at the right time. It's been great, but we can't sit back, we have to keep working hard."
Searl finally broke a scoreless draw with 11:30 to play in the second half, as the Westford, Mass., native took a crossing pass from sophomore Michael Rincon (Medford, Mass.) directly in front of the net and buried it to score the only goal of the match.
Silva, who needed only to record two saves to pick up his eighth win of the season, stood tall with both of his stops coming in the second half and also benefitted from a huge team save, as well.
Franklin Pierce netminder Jake Wright recorded three saves on the night and took the loss after giving up the one goal.
Senior forward Franklin Lemus Pena (Revere, Mass.) led the Warriors with a side-high three shot attempts, but in the end, Searl's lone marker was the only one needed in a defensive-minded battle.
The visitors posted a slim 10-9 advantage in total shot attempts, as well as a 3-1 edge in corner kicks. Both teams combined for 25 fouls, with Merrimack leading in that category, 13-12.
Next up, the Warriors return home to face Assumption in another NE-10 battle on Saturday, Oct. 13. First whistle from Martone-Mejail Field is set for 4 p.m.