NORTH ANDOVER, MA – The #15 Merrimack women's soccer team secured its fourth-consecutive clean sheet Wednesday evening at Martone-Mejail Field, a 2-0 victory over Stonehill. With the win, the Warriors improve to 14-2-1 overall and 11-2-1 in the Northeast-10 Conference, sealing a top-two finish for the second-straight season. The Skyhawks flutter to 9-6-2 on the year and 7-5-2 in league matches.
Merrimack sits just three points out of first-place as Saint Rose leads the conference with 37 points. With a win in the final regular season game against Pace on Saturday and a loss by the Golden Knights at Bentley, the Warriors would earn a share of their first Northeast-10 Conference regular season crown since 1999.
Jessica Peacock (Hopedale, MA) gave the Warriors a one-goal advantage with 6:49 remaining in the opening frame. Peacock blasted a free kick from 35 yards out that took a winding path towards goal. The senior's shot baffled the Skyhawks' goalkeeper and went into the back of the net for her third tally of the season.
Stonehill held an 11-6 edge in shots through 45 minutes of play. Merrimack earned four corner kicks in the first half while allowing two.
Danielle Dion (North Grosvenordale, CT) buried her sixth marker of the season in the 70th minute. Marissa DePaolo (Milford, MA) fed Dion at the top of the penalty box with her back to goal. The sophomore striker used the outside of her right foot to turn and angle the ball away from the defender into the center of the field. Dion fired a shot into the lower left corner of the cage to lift the home team's lead to two goals.
In the 83rd minute, Stonehill earned a corner kick and Sara Nagle nearly cut the deficit to one goal. Nagle headed the service on frame towards the near post but Sarah Wooley (Duxbury, MA) was stationed there and cleared the shot off of the goal line.
Merrimack controlled the second stanza and owned a 22-8 advantage in shots. The Warriors finished the match with 28 attempts while the Skyhawks took 19 shots, including two that rang off the piping.
The hosts mirrored their 4-2 first-half edge in corner kicks in the second to conclude the contest with eight while conceding just four.
Kiley Horne (Scituate, MA) registered her eighth shutout of the fall and fourth in a row with five saves between the posts. Horne raised her record in goal to 14-2-1 this season for the Warriors. Amy Wheaton stopped seven shots in goal for Stonehill on the night.
"We came out flat but we picked up our play midway through the first half and I thought we did a good job of maintaining it for the remainder," said head coach Gabe Mejail who recorded his 425th career victory Wednesday evening. "It was good to be able to get a lot of players minutes today and that will prove helpful for us down the road. We will look to close out the regular season on a positive note on Saturday, especially since it is Senior Day."
Merrimack's 14 wins this season are the most since the 2005 campaign. The Warriors will look to match the 2004 victory total as they aim to pick up their 15th victory this fall when they host Pace October 29 on Senior Day at 6 pm.