#5/9 Stonehill Gets Defensive at Merrimack, 14-1

Senior Ashley Armstrong made seven saves, including four on free-position shots, to backbone a strong Skyhawks defensive effort. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Sweeney leads offense with five points, Armstrong posts seven saves 

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. (March 19, 2015) – Stonehill College, ranked No. 5 in this week's Nike/Lacrosse Magazine Top 20 and 9th in the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Division II poll, smothered Merrimack College, 14-1, in Northeast-10 Conference women's lacrosse action at Martone-Mejail Field tonight.

Stonehill posted one of its best defensive performances in some time as it limited Merrimack to just 13 shots, with senior Ashley Armstrong (Northborough, Massachusetts/Algonquin Regional) saving seven of the eight shots on goal she faced in the win. The Skyhawks forced Merrimack to go 0-for-6 on free-position attempts, with Armstrong stopping four of them, including three in a shutout first half. Merrimack was also just 8-for-14 on clear attempts and committed 14 turnovers. Stonehill is now 6-0 for the first time since a 10-0 start in 2011.

Junior Caitlin Sweeney (Hollis, New Hampshire/Hollis-Brookline) paced the Stonehill offense with three goals and two assists for five points, while senior Lizzie Lane (Sandwich, Massachusetts/Bishop Stang) adding two goals and an assist with two ground balls. Seniors Cassandra McGill (Westborough, Massachusetts/Westborough) and Jillian Yung (Bridgewater, Massachusetts/Bridgewater-Raynham) each netted a pair of goals for the Skyhawks, with Yung collecting two ground balls. Senior Brooke Rudden (Hopkinton, Massachusetts/Hopkinton) and sophomore Elizabeth Vetter (Great River, New York/East Islip) each chipped in with a goal and assist.

Junior Danielle Riley (West Point, New York/James I. O'Neill) scored the lone Merrimack goal. Freshman Alexa Petzold (Ridgewood, New Jersey/Ridgewood) registered ten saves in the Warriors goal.

Senior Lizzie Lane posted two goals and an assist for the Skyhawks. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Stonehill scored the first nine goals of the game, staking out a 6-0 halftime lead and never looked back. Senior Emily Kessel (Kennebunk, Maine/Kennebunk) opened the scoring on first possession of the game off a feed from sophomore Kiki Ryan (Salem, Connecticut/East Lyme). Lane extended the Skyhawks lead with a pair of goals just 18-seconds apart for a three goal lead less than four and a half minutes into the game.

Stonehill ran the lead to six with three more goals in the final 9:46 of the half, two of which were set up by Sweeney. Freshman Taylor Shannahan (Mendham, New Jersey/ Morris Catholic) scored off the first Sweeney dish with 9:46 left in the half and then Yung added a score off a Sweeney assist with 2:46 remaining. Senior Mikayla Couch (Towaco, New Jersey/DePaul Catholic) capped the first half scoring with a free-position goal with a minute left.

Yung opened the second half scoring with a free-position goal 2:18 into the frame and then McGill potted two straight markers just 1:09 apart to five Stonehill a nine goal lead 3:49 into the half. Riley finally put Merrimack on the board with its lone goal of the contest with 14:01 remaining, but Stonehill reeled off the final five goals, three from Sweeney, to put the game away. Rudden and Vetter each added a goal and assist during the closing run over the final 13:27.

Stonehill (6-0, 4-0 NE-10) is back in action on Saturday when it visits Southern Connecticut State University for a Northeast-10 matchup at noon. The Skyhawks return home next Wednesday, March 25, for its first ever meeting with Northeast-10 newcomer Pace University at 7 p.m. Merrimack (3-3, 1-2 NE-10) travels to Assumption College on Saturday at 3 p.m.

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