NE-10 SEMIFINALS: #5 Stonehill Marches Past #7 Merrimack, 3-2

Junior All-American Emily Sideris had a hand in all three Skyhawk goals, finishing with a goal and two assists. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katrampes)

Sideris and Kelly lead Skyhawks to fifth NE-10 Championship appearance

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. (November 8, 2013) – Third-seeded Stonehill College, ranked fifth in this week's Penn Monto/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division II poll, raced out to a three goal lead and held on from there to claim a 3-2 victory over second-seeded and 7th-ranked Merrimack College in semifinal round action of the 2013 Northeast-10 Conference field hockey tournament at Martone-Mejail Field this afternoon.

Stonehill (18-2, 8-2 NE-10) advances to Sunday's NE-10 Championship where it will face top-seeded and third-ranked LIU Post (19-0, 10-0 NE-10) in Brookville, N.Y., at 1 p.m. It will mark a battle of the top two teams in the North Regional rankings as the Skyhawks will make their fifth trip to the championship game and seek their second title (2005), while the Pioneers are looking to complete the regular season and tournament championship double in their first season in the Conference. LIU Post advanced with a 5-0 win over fourth-seeded Adelphi University this afternoon. Merrimack (13-5, 9-1 NE-10) is expected to LIU Post and Stonehill in earning NCAA Tournament bids on Monday.

Junior All-American Emily Sideris (Watertown, Mass./Watertown) played a role in all three goals for Stonehill, finishing with a goal and two assists. She has now posted 11 points with four goals and three assists over the Skyhawks last three games and recorded a goal in six of their last eight games.

Sophomore Erika Kelly scored the first two goals of the night, giving her an NE-10 record 36 for the season. (PHOTO BY Emily Reynolds)

Sophomore Erika Kelly (Watertown, Mass./Watertown) scored two goals for Stonehill, giving her a Division II-high and NE-10 record 36 for the season – just four shy of the NCAA Division II record of 40 by Jamie Vanartsdalen from Bloomsburg (Pa.) University in 2008. Kelly's program-record 74 points this season rank second nationally and in the NE-10 and is the third-highest single-season total in Conference history.

Junior Elizabeth Genovese (Street, Md./North Harford) preserved the win with ten saves in the Stonehill goal. Merrimack held an 18-15 edge in shots and a 10-7 margin for penalty corners. Sophomore Madison Davis (San Jose, Calif./Branham) finished with five stops in the Merrimack cage.

Merrimack got goals from senior Jessica Otis (Pittsford, N.Y./East Rochester) and sophomore Katrina Squeri (Chelmsford, Mass./Chelmsford), but the three goal deficit proved too much to overcome.

Kelly opened the scoring 6:21 into the contest with her first of the game as she took a centering pass from Sideris and fired a shot into the left side of the cage. She doubled the Skyhawks lead at 12:46 when she went to goal on a drive by Sideris and knocked the ball over the line in behind Davis for her 36th goal of the year. Sideris provided the three goal cushion with her eighth goal of the season when she knocked in a rebound at 29:30.

Merrimack got a goal back with 5:30 left in the opening half as Squeri took a pass from the left side by freshman Nicole Bradley (Essex, Mass./Manchester Essex) for a low shot into the left side. The Warriors drew back within one 3:06 into the second half as Otis blasted a penalty corner from sophomore Christine Zubkis (Dover, N.H./Dover) into the lower left side for her 11th goal of the year.

Merrimack kept pressuring for an equalizer, posting 13 of its 18 shots in the second half, but couldn't get closer. Genovese made nine of her ten stops over the final 35-minutes to hold the Warriors at bay.

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Highlights (Courtesy Merrimack)