Field hockey falls to defending national runner-up Merrimack, 2-1, in overtime

Field hockey falls to defending national runner-up Merrimack, 2-1, in overtime

COLCHESTER, Vt. - Merrimack College sophomore Mary McNeil scored 1:59 into overtime, as the Saint Michael's College field hockey team lost to the defending NCAA Tournament runner-up, 2-1, on Wednesday afternoon at Duffy Field. With the result, the Purple Knights move to 2-4 overall and 0-2 in the Northeast-10 Conference. The Warriors, who qualified for four of the past five NCAA Tournaments, earned their first win of the season and now sit at 1-4 and 1-1. 

Senior Abby Dusha (Greenwich, N.Y./Greenwich Central School) tallied the lone marker for the Purple Knights, as she was assisted by sophomore Maddie Dobecki (Scarborough, Maine/Scarborough). Senior goalkeeper Abigail Bowie (Readfield, Maine/Kents Hill School) made eight saves for Saint Michael's, improving her career total to 204 and passing Meghan McLaughlin '11 for 10th in program history. Sophomore Claire Kondrotas (Barre, Mass/Quabbin Regional) recorded a defensive save. 

Junior Taylor Simpson contributed the other goal for the Warriors. Senior Nicole Bradley and junior Rylie Hammond registered assists. First-year goalkeeper Katharina Ohmen recorded two saves in the game for Merrimack. 

Just 1:24 into overtime McNeil attempted a would-be game-winner that Bowie denied. Less than a minute later, senior Kaitlin McCauley's entry pass was redirected in the circle by Bradley toward McNeil on the left post, and she deposited the ball past a diving Bowie into the back of the net for the win. 

In the 22nd minute, Simpson attempted a shot during a penalty corner sequence that was blocked, and the rebound was handled by senior Hannah Magerman, who fired another shot, but Bowie dropped to the turf and got in front of it for the stop. In the 32nd minute, Bradley found the ball on her stick following another Merrimack penalty corner. She sent a hard shot on goal that forced Bowie to move quickly to make a pad save. The two teams entered halftime scoreless. 

At 38:02 Merrimack sophomore Delaney Yule fired a hard and low shot following another penalty corner. The shot snuck through Bowie's legs but Kondrotas was right behind her and stopped the ball from crossing the line with a backhanded stop. At 43:38 Simpson fired a waist-high shot that Bowie jumped to stop with her pad.

The game remained scoreless until the 64th minute. Merrimack broke the ice when Hammond sent a backhanded pass from the center of the circle to Simpson on the right side of the cage for a quick finish to cap a penalty corner play. Late in the final minute, the Purple Knights forced a penalty corner. Junior Jenna Deschaine (Claremont, N.H./Stevens) lined up for the corner and played the ball outside the circle to Dobecki, who then fired a hard entry ball that Dusha redirected up and over Ohmen and into the top right portion of the goal. Merrimack was unable to fire off a shot on its final possession, and the teams went to overtime. 

The Purple Knights' next game is Saturday at 1 p.m. on the road against NE-10 opponent Adelphi University. The Panthers qualified for the last two NCAA Tournaments.