NORTH ANDOVER, MA – The Merrimack women's lacrosse team went through its fair share of ups and downs during the 2012 season but they were still able to reach the Northeast-10 Conference playoffs for the seventh straight season, including each season under current head coach Corinne Baker.
Boasting a conference with some of the top teams nationally in Adelphi and Le Moyne, as well as perennial contenders Stonehill and New Haven, Merrimack finished 7-9 in 2012, 7-5 in the conference.
"We were rattled with some injuries and eligibility issues all season long, but the team responded early on and we were able to promote team growth in beginning of the season," said head coach Corinne Baker. "To maintain our national ranking and compete in the NE-10 playoffs again was certainly on our list of goals to achieve and we did both of those."
Merrimack started its season 2-0 after defeating Saint Anselm on March 10 by the score of 14-11 and Assumption on March 13 by the score of 16-10.
The Warriors next three defeats were to top-10 teams nationally as they lost to #2 Adelphi, #6 Lock Haven and #9 New Haven.
All nine of the Warriors losses this season were to ranked opponents. However, the Warriors recovered from their struggles against ranked foes by ending the regular season with three straight road conference victories over Southern Connecticut, Saint Michael's and Franklin Pierce to earn the sixth seed in the playoffs.
"There were some setbacks and while the end result was certainly nothing we were pushing towards, giving everyone that extra edge of leaving with the taste in their mouths that our season ended way too early brings a lot of fire for September and our training for the 2013 season."
The Warriors were defeated by the Stonehill Skyhawks in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament by the score of 15-3, ending their 2012 campaign.
Seniors Colleen Strachan (Bedford, MA) and Mary Pasquantonio (Plainville, MA) closed out their impressive Merrimack careers with record breaking numbers while Sarah Salatto (Guilford, CT) finished out her career with all-regional and conference recognition. Salatto earned first-team all-conference and second-team all-region nods after compiling a team-high 42 ground balls and 24 caused turnovers.
Pasquantonio, a four-time All-Conference performer, finished the season with 20 goals and 24 points in only nine games of action due to injury. Her 111 goals and 152 points rank her eight on the Warriors all-time scoring charts. Her 120 career ground balls ranks her third all-time in school history while her 32 career free position goals ties her for first all-time with fellow senior, Strachan.
Strachan finished her career ranked fifth all-time in Merrimack school history with 132 goals and 182 points. Her 114 career ground balls is good for fourth on the all-time charts while her 32 free position goals ties her for first with Pasquantonio.
Jenn Pino (North Andover, Mass.) netted 24 goals and 37 points in her junior season while Olivia Huie (Norwell, Mass.) racked up 20 goals. Alicia Tinsley (Shrewsbury, MA) (27 goals), Tyler Szymanski (Framingham, Mass.) (18 goals) and Liz Greeley (Norwood, Mass.) (14 goals) also had strong offensive seasons.
The Warriors also received good play from their new players as freshman Giulia Palombo (Sandwich, Mass.) connected on 10 goals and 12 points while goalie Sam Kiesel (Andover, Mass.) made 11 starts between the pipes and held a 5-6 record while allowing 11.14 goals against.
"We're very excited about next season, we have learned a great deal from this past year not only as a staff, but as a program; and to rebound at the rate to which we are expecting to is something that gives us all a lot to look forward to," stated Baker. "To be consistently competitive is no longer good enough, we're looking to be among the best teams year in and year out. I believe with our returners and a brand new class coming in (including a D1 transfer), we can achieve that in the short time of one season."