NORTH ANDOVER, MA – The Merrimack women's soccer team rose to #17 in the NSCAA National Poll hours before kicking off against Saint Michael's Tuesday afternoon. The Warriors defeated the Purple Knights 4-1 at Warrior Field to improve to 7-0-0 on the season and 5-0-0 in the Northeast-10 Conference. Saint Michael's sank to 2-5-0 overall and 1-4-0 against league opponents.
Jenna Zechner (Billerica, MA) put the home team on the board early in the match with her team-leading fourth goal of the season. Jessica Peacock (Hopedale, MA) booted the ball from the backline, sending it over the heads of everyone and into empty space behind the Purple Knights' defense. Zechner sprinted by a defender and settled the ball before striking it past the oncoming goalkeeper to give Merrimack a 1-0 advantage in the sixth minute.
Kiley Horne (Scituate, MA) prevented the visitors from knotting the score in the 17th minute as Jordyn Mallett broke in on a one-on-one. Horne bravely came off of her line to cut off the angle and slid to deflect Mallett's shot towards the sideline.
Cassie Crockett tied the contest at 1-1 with her second marker of the year. Crockett volleyed in a cross from Carley Pestana in the 17th minute of play.
With 6:32 remaining in the first half, Kathryn Eagan (Amherst, NH) netted her first collegiate goal to lift Merrimack to a 2-1 lead at the break. Eagan drove a free kick on frame from the left side of the penalty area. The junior's shot took a deflection and bounced into the right side of the cage.
Saint Michael's owned a 10-6 advantage in shots through 45 minutes of action.
In the 52nd minute of the match, Jenn Pino (North Andover, MA) sent a teasing cross into the penalty area from the right flank. Pino's cross began swinging away from the goal, enticing the goalkeeper off her line. The ball swerved back toward the net and tucked into the side-netting on the left portion of the frame to increase the Warriors' lead to two goals, 3-1.
Sami Brady (Rockland, MA) notched her second goal in as many games in the 69th minute to cap off the scoring. Brady side-volleyed a cross from Zechner and buried it into the net to raise Merrimack to a 4-1 margin.
The two teams concluded the match with the same amount of shots on the day as each team fired 18. The Purple Knights held a 4-3 edge in corner kicks awarded in the contest.
Horne stopped five shots in goal for the Warriors in 74:46 of work to earn her seventh win of the year. Nicole Curtis (Billerica, MA) made her second relief appearance of the season, playing the final 15:14. The sophomore recorded one save in the game, a point-blank denial.
"A great effort put forth by our team today. We started off strong but got away from it for a while. We dialed up the intensity late in the first half and kept it going for the remainder of the game," said head coach Gabe Mejail. "It was good to get everyone into the game and allow each player to gain valuable experience."
Merrimack travels to local rival Bentley for the next match of the 2011 campaign. The Warriors will look to remain unbeaten on the season as they clash with the Falcons September 24.