No. 8 Merrimack Tops Saint Michael's to Stay Unbeaten

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. Highlighted by another outstanding performance from its balanced attack that saw eight different players find the back of the net, eighth-ranked Merrimack stayed unbeaten in Northeast-10 Conference play after defeating Saint Michael's, 11-5, on Saturday afternoon at Martone-Mejail Field.

Merrimack roared out of the gates and built its lead to six (7-1) to carry a five-goal cushion into the intermission. Saint Michael's would staunch the bleeding with two quick strikes in the first six minutes of the third, but Merrimack would answer with four of the game's final five markers to push its conference record to an unblemished 3-0.

Staying true to the theme of the season was Merrimack's offense, which spread the wealth yet again on Saturday; among the eight players who tickled the twine for the Warriors: five were underclassmen, including another big day from rookie Tucker Schwarz (Tallahassee, Fla.), who finished with a game-high four points (3g, 1a).

Schwarz was one of four multi-point scorers for the home side; classmate Max Allen (West Caldwell, N.J.) added a career-high two-goal performance of his own, while junior transfer Andrew Vivian (Slingerlands, N.Y.) and senior attack Paul Jones (Guilderland, N.Y.) each added a goal and assist apiece.

In net, freshman Dom Madonna (Liverpool, N.Y.) used three saves to pick up the win in his first collegiate start, limiting the Purple Knights to just the two goals over 30 minutes of work. Madonna would give way to junior Morgan Green (Portsmouth, R.I.), who made several big stops in the second half while finishing with seven saves in relief.

Merrimack roared out to a 3-0 lead in the first after three uninterrupted markers from sophomore Tim Towler (Topsfield, Mass.), Allen and sophomore James Caruso (Needham, Mass.), respectively, before Schwarz fired off his first of the game at 9:04 of the second to push the Warriors up by four.

After Saint Michael's got on the board midway through the second, junior Kyle Guilbert (Walpole, Mass.), sophomore Ryan Poirier (Warwick, R.I.) and Jones then tallied three in succession for the home side before Saint Michael's added a late goal to trail by five at the half.

The Purple Knights took away the momentum at the start of the third quarter after back-to-back goals brought the visitors to within three (7-4), but Schwarz answered right back with a bullet of a shot at the 7:05 mark to make it a four-goal edge.

In the final frame, Allen buried a feed from junior Jamie Shand (Massapequa, N.Y.) for a man-up marker at 13:21 before Saint Michael's responded two minutes later. Schwarz and Vivian would close out the scoring later in the fourth with Merrimack's last two goals of the game to settle for the final margin of victory.

* * * *

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. - Saint Michael's played its third consecutive nationally-ranked foe to open the season by opposing No. 8 Merrimack College on Saturday, losing an 11-5 decision on Martone-Mejail Field.

The Purple Knights fell to 0-3 while also beginning their Northeast-10 Conference slate, and the Warriors, a defending NE-10 regular-season co-champion, improved to 3-1 overall and 3-0 in the league. Their ranking is according to this week's United State Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) national poll.

Senior Evan Antolino (Exeter, N.H./Exeter) had two goals and two assists for Saint Michael's, which is amid an eight-game stretch dating back to last season during which it is facing seven opponents either nationally ranked or receiving votes.

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