MANCHESTER, N.H. — For the first time since 2002, Mercyhurst advanced to the NCAA tournament quarterfinals with a 2-1 win against Gannon on Friday. Senior Austin Solomon scored the game-winning goal to advance the Lakers to Sunday’s match.
In the first half, Gannon led the shots on goal 3-1, but Mercyhurst kept the pressure outshooting Gannon 13-6.
At the 33:43 mark of the first half, Mercyhurst was first to score. Sophomore Fernando Martinez took the throw in on Gannon’s side of the pitch to sophomore Eylae Dagne, who chipped the ball over his head to senior Alex Manea. Manea finished with a header into the left corner of the net, marking his 15th goal of the season.
Mercyhurst held the lead throughout the majority of the second half, with Gannon having a slight shot advantage of 2-1 on net, and 6-3 overall.
Solomon scored at the 79:33 mark, when Martinez gave him the go-ahead ball and created a one-on-one with the goaltender. Solomon shot it past Gannon’s goaltender from 15 yards out to the left side of the net.
Gannon continued to put pressure with less than eight minutes in regulation, Alex Perri notched his seventh goal of the season and tightened the Lakers lead to one.
“It was nerve-racking, I just kept telling everyone to calm down with Gannon pressuring back. I just kept telling them to keep your heads up,” Soloman said.
The Lakers outshot Gannon 16-12 in the match. Freshman Sten Marcson led the Lakers with four shots, while Manea and Solomon each took three shots.
Goalkeeper Mikko Sarkkinen (3-0-0) made two saves in net for the Lakers, playing all 90 minutes and allowing one goal.
“The difference between the two goaltenders was like splitting hairs. The difference that sets apart Diego [Gustin] from Mikko [Sarkkinen] was continuity… It’s rare that you have two goaltenders with such skill and I’m glad he’s finally getting his opportunity.” Mercyhurst head coach Dale White said
Gannon’s goaltender Jason Barbarino made five saves and allowed two goals.
Mercyhurst improved its record to 16-5-1.