Merrimack Knocks off No. 1 Le Moyne in NE-10

Syracuse, N.Y. All-Conference midfielder Brad McAdam scored the game-winning goal for the second straight year, as fifth-seeded Merrimack upset top-ranked and top-seeded Le Moyne, 7-6, on Friday afternoon in the Northeast-10 Conference semifinals at the Thomas J. Niland Athletic Complex. Merrimack advances to its third straight title game and will face second-seeded Adelphi on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.

Merrimack, which becomes the first program to beat the Dolphins in Syracuse in consecutive games since New York Tech did so in the 2002 and 2003 NCAA Semifinals, stormed out of the gates to start the game. Following a failed clear by the Dolphins, Merrimack got on the scoreboard at the 12:14 mark as Greg Melaugh scored off a feed from Mike Perdie. Less than two minutes later, Perdie fed Matt Klepper for his fourth goal of the season. After an almost two-minute possession, McAdam tallied his 23rd goal of the season to give the Warriors a 3-0 lead and force a Le Moyne timeout.

The Dolphins cut into their deficit with 6:11 remaining in the opening quarter as first team all-conference long-stick midfielder Brian Craig (Brewerton, N.Y./Central Square) picked off a pass goal-line extended on the right side of the field and carried the ball all the way up the field before firing in his second goal of the season.

The Warriors answered back 68 seconds later as Michael Balbuena tallied his 15th goal of the season for the final goal of the quarter.

The teams traded goals in the second quarter. Merrimack extended its lead to 5-1 56 seconds into the second quarter as first team all-conference attackman Corey Lunney found the back of the net for the 35th time this season. Le Moyne trimmed Merrimack's lead back to three with 9:31 remaining in the half on the 24th goal of the season by first team all-conference midfielder Matt Chadderdon (Auburn, N.Y./Auburn).

The Warriors regained their four-goal with 4:21 before intermission on Lunney's second goal of the contest. The Dolphins closed out the scoring in the half just after a Merrimack penalty expired. Northeast-10 Conference Player of the Year Jack Venditti (Baldwinsville, N.Y./C.W. Baker) took a pass from the right side of the field from freshman midfielder Andrew Chadderdon (Auburn, N.Y./Auburn) with 1:49 remaining.

Le Moyne closed within a goal by scoring the only two goals of the third quarter. Graduate student midfielder Mike Rabbitt (Simsbury, N.Y./Simsbury) started the scoring in the stanza with his fourth goal of the year from the left side of the goal at the 9:24 mark. The Dolphins pulled within 6-5 with 4:43 left in the quarter as senior attackman Vinnie Alexander (Syracuse, N.Y./Westhill/Onondaga C.C.) came around the goal on the right side.

McAdam, who scored with eight-tenths of a second left in overtime in last year's Northeast-10 Championship game, netted the eventual game-winner on a man-up opportunity with 13:20 remaining off a pass from Paul Jones.

After sophomore goalkeeper Jeff White (Buffalo, N.Y./Canisius HS) caused a turnover with 1:05 left in the game following a three and one-half minute Merrimack possession, first team all-conference midfielder Tyler Sennett (Syracuse, N.Y./Nottingham) got the Dolphins back within a goal with 15 seconds left. Merrimack won the ensuing face-off to run out the clock.

Le Moyne (12-2), which lost in the Northeast-10 semifinals for the first time since a 12-9 loss to Merrimack in 1999, now awaits word on a bid to the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA will release the pairings on Sunday at 6:00 p.m. at NCAA.com. By failing to score against the Warriors, all-conference attackman Jack Harmatuk (Syracuse, N.Y./Christian Brothers Academy/Syracuse U.) had his streak of consecutive games with a goal snapped at 44.

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2011-05-06



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