COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's lacrosse team suffered an 11-2 setback to No. 5 Merrimack College in Wednesday's Northeast-10 Conference game at Duffy Field. The Purple Knights slip to 4-3 overall and 3-2 in the league, while the Warriors, last year's NE-10 Championship runner-up, move to 7-1 and 6-1. Saint Michael's is third in the latest New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (NEILA) poll, while Merrimack is first in those rankings and fifth in this week's United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) national poll.
Senior Matt Casella (Yonkers, N.Y./Fordham Prep) and sophomore Ben Overslaugh (Pittsford, N.Y./Pittsford Mendon) both scored for Saint Michael's, with sophomore Tom Fitzgerald (Cranford, N.J./Cranford) providing an assist. Juniors Brian Devilly (Norwell, Mass./Norwell) and Jamie McGill (Needham, Mass./Needham) and first-year Spencer Ralston (Hebron, Conn./Cushing Academy) each picked up three ground balls, while sophomore Salvatore Loris (Fairfield, Conn./Fairfield Ludlowe) had two ground balls and four caused turnovers.
Senior Luke Solms (Bedford, N.H./Northfield Mount Hermon) and first-year Brian Loughlin (Kingston, N.Y./Kingston) both caused two turnovers, as Saint Michael's forced Merrimack into a season-high 23 turnovers after the Warriors entered the game committing a Division II-low 12.0 per contest. Junior T.J. Bicknell (Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury) made a career-high 23 saves while scooping up eight ground balls.
Sophomore Tucker Schwarz (Tallahassee, Fla./Maclay School) had three goals and five ground balls for Merrimack, while classmates Max Allen (West Caldwell, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) and John Bassett (Clifton Park, N.Y./Christian Brothers Academy) both scored twice, with Allen adding a helper. Senior Jamie Shand (Massapequa, N.Y./Massapequa) scored and dished two assists, and sophomore Hunter Schmell (Woodstock, Vt./Woodstock Union/Stevenson) scored and had an assist. Junior Andrew Walsh (Derry, N.H./The Holderness School/Quinnipiac) went 10-for-15 on face-offs and collected seven ground balls, while sophomore Dom Madonna (Liverpool, N.Y./Liverpool) earned the win with eight saves.
Allen put the visitors up first when he deposited a man-up goal with 4:43 left in the first quarter. After the Warriors gained another extra-man opportunity late in the same quarter, Bicknell came up with two stops, the first coming with 2:19 remaining to keep the margin at a 1-0 Merrimack advantage. Bicknell collected eight more saves in the second quarter, but Merrimack was able to net two goals and take a 3-0 halftime lead on tallies by junior Tim Towler (Topsfield, Mass./Masconomet Regional) at 10:38 and Schwarz with 2:06 to go. Saint Michael's was kept scoreless for two consecutive quarters for the first time this season.
Merrimack added two more goals in the final 6:11 of the third quarter on markers by Shand and sophomore Brennen Morin (Wilbraham, Mass./Minnechaug Regional) to take a 5-0 lead despite both sides registering nine shots. The Warriors then saw their advantage increase to 7-0 when Schwarz scored at 10:51 of the fourth period, his team's second goal in 52 seconds, before the Purple Knights spoiled the shutout when Fitzgerald made a quick feed through traffic to Overslaugh, who tucked away a man-up goal with 8:22 remaining. The visitors reeled off four straight goals and led 11-1 before Casella fired in a man-down tally with 1:12 left.
The Purple Knights host No. 6 Adelphi University at 12 p.m. on Saturday. The Panthers' ranking is according to the latest USILA national poll.