Junior Elizabeth Genovese made eight saves in the Stonehill cage tonight. (PHOTO BY Emily Reynolds)
Davis keeps Skyhawks at bay with 11 saves, ends hosts unbeaten run
EASTON, Mass. (October 29, 2013) – Merrimack College, ranked seventh in this week's Penn Monto/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division II poll and third in the NCAA North Regional rankings, handed 3rd-ranked Stonehill College, ranked first in the region, its first loss of the season with a 1-0 victory at Timothy J. Coughlin Memorial Field at W.B. Mason Stadium tonight.
Sophomore Madison Davis (San Jose, Calif./Branham) made 11 saves, including eight in the second half, to claim her fourth shutout of the season for Merrimack. In addition to breaking Stonehill's unbeaten start to the season at 16 games, it marks the first time the Skyhawks have been shutout since the Warriors accomplished the feat in last year's 5-0 NE-10 win in North Andover – 24 games ago. It also snaps a string of ten straight regular season NE-10 wins for Stonehill and a stretch of eight straight home wins dating back to late last season.
Senior Jessica Otis (Pittsford, N.Y./East Rochester) scored the lone goal of the contest when she knocked in a pass from the right side by classmate Candace Waldie (North Andover, Mass./North Andover) on a counter fast break with 11:25 left in regulation. Stonehill posted a 20-15 edge in shots for the contest, including a 15-5 margin in the second half, holding a 9-6 advantage for penalty corners (7-3 second half), but was unable to break through.
Junior goalkeeper Elizabeth Genovese (Street, Md./North Harford) turned aside eight shots in the cage for Stonehill.
After a tightly contested first half didn't produce a goal or quality scoring chance of note, both teams squandered early scoring bids in the second half. Merrimack sophomore Katrina Squeri (Chelmsford, Mass./Chelmsford) had the ball on her stick on the goal line with an open net, but chose to lift the ball over the goal line and it went over the cross bar 2:12 in.
Stonehill was awarded a penalty stroke at 49:48 after a Merrimack foul off a corner attempt, but Davis knocked down the attempt from sophomore Erika Kelly (Watertown, Mass./Watertown). Merrimack broke through nine minutes later against the run of play with Otis' tenth goal of the year. Kelly had one late chance to force overtime as she was fed through for a breakaway in the final minute, but Davis came off her line to smother the attempt as Kelly tried to make a move past her.
Stonehill (16-1, 8-1 NE-10) closes out the regular season at 4th-ranked LIU Post, ranked second in the region, with a chance to claim a share of the NE-10 regular season championship and send NE-10 Tournament seeding to tiebreakers on Saturday at noon. Merrimack closes out its regular season with a 13-4 overall record, including a 9-1 mark in NE-10 play, and now await the final seeding for next week's NE-10 Tournament.