NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Senior forward April Daugherty scored two goals in three minutes to lift No. 7 Merrimack to its biggest victory in recent memory, a 2-1 decision on the road against No. 5 UMass-Lowell on Tuesday night at Cushing Field.
Winning on the road at UMass-Lowell for the first time since 2005, the Warriors improve to 14-2 on the season and move into first place in the Northeast-10 Conference standings with an 8-1 record in league play. Meawhile, the River Hawks fall to 13-3 overall and 7-2 within the conference.
Daugherty -– who will graduate this year as the program’s all-time leader in virtually every offensive scoring category – put the team on her shoulders midway through the second half, tipping in the game-tying goal at 44:09 before netting the game-winner three minutes later.
“[It] was not only a great team victory, but an even bigger victory for our program,” head coach Anne Rounce said. “Saturday’s regular-season finale is another critical match, but I’m very proud of our girls.”
Heading into halftime down by a score thanks to Emily Painten’s goal at 16:38, Merrimack provided early pressure to start the second half but could not break through against UML goalkeeper Melanie Hopkins (four saves) until the 45th minute.
Senior Jamie Spano took possession on the left side of the scoring circle and carried the ball toward the goal before sending the ball toward the left side of the goalmouth. Waiting for the ricochet was Daugherty, who promptly tipped it past Hopkins to tie the match at one.
The Warriors then re-upped the pressure and found themselves with another scoring chance minutes later. Leading scorer Candace Waldie carried the ball into the scoring circle and sliced toward the left side, sneaking a pass all the way through to Daugherty, who maneuvered around the goalkeeper and slid a backhand shot into the cage to put the visitors on top with a little more than 20 minutes to play.
The Warriors continued to apply pressure, reeling off the next four shot attempts to cut valuable time off the clock. UMass-Lowell earned back-to-back penalty corners with 10 minutes to play but could not capitalize on either, as senior goalkeeper Kerri Bergquist shined in the final minutes of regulation to keep the Warriors ahead.
After Sarah Wilcox received a green card to put the home side down a player with five minutes to play, the Warriors proceeded to run out the clock en route to the victory.
Both teams would finish with nine shot attempts apiece – with three in the first half and six in the second half – while Bergquist turned aside four shots for the Warriors. Merrimack dominated the penalty corners by an 8-3 margin, while Wilcox posted a defensive save for the home side.