Nov. 13, 2009

Courtesy of Merrimack Athletics

ALBANY, NY - While the Merrimack women's soccer team failed to register a shot on goal in regulation or overtime, the Warriors advanced to the East Regional Semifinal over UMass-Lowell in penalty kicks, 4-3, on Friday afternoon in Albany.

Merrimack was out-shot 12-1 in the first half and 21-4 in the game, while UMass-Lowell grazed the crossbar twice in each half. The Warriors withstood the barrage of River Hawk offense in the first half, and head coach Gabe Mejail knew it would be a battle to even force overtime.

"UMass came out with so much energy in the first 45 minutes that it meant a lot for us to hold them scoreless," Mejail said. "We had a few more opportunities in the second half, but there was a good chance our best shot would be in penalty kicks because [UMass-Lowell] has such a strong defense. Our team showed a lot of heart and battled all game to pull this one off."

In addition to her eventual shoot-out winning goal, senior captain Brittany Gustafson (East Hampton, CT) stopped three penalty kicks after a season-high 12 saves in regulation and the two overtimes.

Two years ago when the UMass-Lowell and Merrimack matched up as the fourth and fifth seeds of the region, respectively, the Warriors also came out on top, 1-0, before dropping a 3-1 contest to the College of Saint Rose--who they will meet on Sunday at 1:00pm. The game is scheduled to kick-off at The Albany Academy pending the forecasted weather.

The win also marks the seventh trip in the past nine years to the East Regional semifinal for Merrimack.

In a re-match with the Golden Knights on Sunday, the Warriors look to avenge a 2-0 Northeast-10 Conference semifinal loss they suffered just over a week ago in Albany.

NCAA East Region
Game 1: #5 Merrimack def. #4UMass-Lowell, 0-0 (4-3 PKs)
Game 2: #5 Merrimack @ #1 Saint Rose - 1:00pm

Game 3: #3 Franklin Pierce def. #6 Holy Family, 2-0
Game 4: #3 Franklin Pierce @ #2 Bridgeport

East Regional Final: Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 4