Merrimack Rallies Past #4 Stonehill, 2-1

Senior captain Lauren Gifford netted her first career goal to give Stonehill a first half lead today against Merrimack. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Bergquist makes 15 saves, Otis nets both goals to lead Warriors to victory

EASTON, Mass. (September 11, 2010) – Merrimack College got two unanswered goals from sophomore Jen Otis (Penacook, N.H./Merrimack Valley) in each half to overcome a huge statistical discrepancy and claim a 2-1 victory over Stonehill College, ranked fourth in the Kookaburra/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division II preseason poll, in a non-conference field hockey matchup at W.B. Mason Stadium this afternoon.

Sophomore goalkeeper Kerri Bergquist (Mashpee, Mass./Mashpee) preserved the win with an incredible 15 saves for Merrimack as Stonehill piled up a 26-4 advantage in shots for the contest, including a 15-3 onslaught in the second half. Otis had both Warrior goals, with freshman Jessica Otis (Pittsford, N.Y./East Rochester) assisting on the winner midway through the second half.

Senior Lauren Gifford (Belmont, Mass./Belmont) scored the lone goal for Stonehill, with classmate Courtney Foley (Wakefield, Mass./Wakefield Memorial) collecting her team-leading fourth assist on the play. Senior Courtney Osier (South Dennis, Mass./Dennis-Yarmouth) stopped one shot in goal for the Skyhawks. Stonehill racked up 20 penalty corners on the afternoon, compared to just one for Merrimack. Corners were 11-0 in the Skyhawks favor in the second half.

Postgame Interview with Head Coach Shelly Morris

Stonehill broke the scoreless deadlock with 7:43 left in the first half off one of its nine penalty corners in the first half as Foley slid a pass to the right side of the arc where Gifford fired in her first collegiate goal with a drive from five yards out.

Merrimack answered five minutes later to knot the score just before halftime as junior Sarah Salatto (Guilford, Conn./Guilford) took the Warriors lone corner of the game and sent it out to sophomore Elizabeth Lincoln (Unity, Maine/Mount View) who squared it off to Otis for a drive from the upper left corner of the arc on the team's first shot of the afternoon at 32:56.

Otis put Merrimack in front just over 16 minutes into the second half when she tipped in a pass from just inside the top of the arc by Jessica Otis at 51:12. Stonehill continued to pressure the Warriors cage, but could not solve Bergquist who racked up ten second half saves. The Skyhawks earned two corners after time expired in regulation, but could not force overtime as the game ended when a drive from the top of the arc by Foley went wide left.

Stonehill (1-3, 0-0 NE-10) is back in action on Tuesday when it hosts rival Bentley University, ranked seventh nationally, for a non-conference clash at 7 p.m. Merrimack (1-3, 0-1 NE-10) hosts third-ranked University of Massachusetts Lowell on Tuesday at 4 p.m.