NE10 SEMIFINALS: #5 Merrimack Stops #9 Field Hockey, 2-1

Smith's 32nd goal of the year pulled the Skyhawks within a goal late in the second half. (PHOTO BY Matt Campbell)

Ohmen posts four second half saves to make two first half goals stand

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. (November 16, 2018) – Second-seeded Merrimack College, ranked No. 5 in this week's Penn Monto/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division II poll, grabbed a two goal lead and made it stand in notching a 2-1 victory over sixth-seeded and No. 9-ranked Stonehill College in semifinal round action of the 2018 Northeast-10 Conference Field Hockey Tournament at Duane Stadium this evening.

Merrimack, ranked second in this week's NCAA Division II East Regional rankings, advances to Sunday's NE10 Championship, and will host fourth-seeded and No. 10-ranked Saint Anselm College (15-5, 10-3 NE10) at Duane Stadium at 1 p.m. The Hawks advances with a 3-2 triumph over eighth-seeded Assumption College in tonight's other semifinal in Manchester, New Hampshire. Stonehill (13-7, 8-5 NE10), ranked fifth in this week's NCAA regional rankings, must await the NCAA Division II Tournament selection show on Monday at 3 p.m., to find out if Tuesday's win at No. 6 LIU Post, ranked third in the region, is enough to receive the tenth NCAA bid in program history.

Junior Alex Mondini and sophomore Colleen Ellis each recorded a goal and junior Katharina Ohmen made the two goals stand with five saves.

Freedman made three of her four saves in the first half. (PHOTO BY Matt Campbell)

Senior Kacie Smith scored Stonehill's goal, while classmate Sara Freedman finished with four saves for the Skyhawks. Should the Skyhawks not hear their name called on selection Monday, it will cap one of the illustrious scoring careers in NCAA Division II history with Smith totaling an NE10 record 257 points and 109 goals, to go with a program-record 39 assists in 81 career games played. Just the second three-time NE10 Player of the Year in Conference history, Smith is one of just two student-athletes in NCAA Division II history to record over 200 points and 100 goals, and would finish second all-time in both categories, while her program-record assists rank fourth all-time in the NE10. Freedman has recorded a program-record 465 saves in 80 career games.

Ellis and Mondini each scored first half goals to provide all the offense Merrimack would need. Ellis collected a rebound and netted her ninth goal of the year to put the Warriors in front just 4:29 into the contest. Mondini doubled Merrimack's lead 7:59 before the intermission with a tip-in off a penalty corner. Freedman made three of her four saves in the first half to keep the Skyhawks in the game, while Ohmen stopped a shot by Stonehill freshman Elisha Brinkman and then the Warriors successfully defended a corner to maintain the two-goal lead into halftime.

Stonehill finally broke through just shy of the hour mark when Smith potted her NCAA Division II leading 32nd goal of the season with 10:26 to play when she collected a loose ball off her own rebound in front of the cage. Ohmen posted four of her five stops in the second half to keep the Skyhawks at bay, including three over the opening eight minutes of the half and then stopped freshman Sophie Schreck with four minutes to play as Stonehill pushed forward for an equalizer.

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