Men's lacrosse faces third straight top-eight foe, falls to No. 2 Merrimack

Men's lacrosse faces third straight top-eight foe, falls to No. 2 Merrimack

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's lacrosse team played its third straight top-eight opponent on Tuesday while suffering a 20-6 loss to No. 2 Merrimack College on Duffy Field during a Northeast-10 Conference contest. The Purple Knights are 1-3 overall and 0-3 in the league, while the Warriors, whose ranking is according to the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA), are 5-1 and 3-1. They advanced to the semifinals of the past two NCAA Tournaments.

First-year Justin Richmond (New Market, Md./Linganore) scored his first college goal while going 15-for-25 on faceoffs with five ground balls, and sophomore long-stick midfielder Matt Cotter (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxboro Regional) aided the effort with six ground balls and a caused turnover. First-year Ralph Grillone III (Brockton, Mass./Cardinal Spellman) registered two goals and an assist, and junior Matt Hanley (Plainview, N.Y./Bethpage) made six saves while adding three ground balls.

Junior Kyle Stenberg and sophomore Seamus Ford both had three goals and an assist to pace a balanced Merrimack offense, while first-year Charlie Bertrand added a hat trick and classmate Dom Thomas two goals and two assists. Sophomore Edward Hellier made five saves in the opening half to nab the win.Junior Brian Loughlin (Kingston, N.Y./Kingston) turned in a goal, an assist and four ground balls, as he now has 97 points for his career. Classmate and defender Dan Johnson (Ringwood, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) scored his first career goal while causing two turnovers, and sophomore Connor McGuirk (Glens Falls, N.Y./Glens Falls) also tallied. Juniors Bobby Frank (Saratoga Springs, N.Y./Saratoga Springs) and Neil Gallagher (Sudbury, Mass./Green Mountain Valley School) and sophomore Matthew Logue (Watertown, Conn./The Gunnery) all recorded three ground balls, with Gallagher causing four turnovers and Frank dishing off an assist.

Senior John Bassett and Grillone exchanged goals 19 seconds apart by the time 1:02 had elapsed in the game, but Bertrand tallied 42 seconds following the Purple Knight strike to kick off a 6-0 run during which two goals came in man-up situations. Down 3-1, Saint Michael's blanked the Warriors for a 12:42 stretch before yielding three goals in a 2:49 stretch of the second quarter. After Stenberg made it 7-1 at 5:48, Richmond won the draw and scored eight seconds later, and the hosts went on the man advantage while looking to trim their deficit to four, but Stenberg netted a man-down tally at 4:30 to spark a 7-0 jaunt that carried into the second half.

Frank fed Johnson with 3:37 left in the third period, kicking off a 4-0 stretch that saw Loughlin score from first-year Jason Feinberg's (Geneva, N.Y./Geneva) pass 22 seconds later. Grillone played a hand in the final two goals, converting a Loughlin dish at 11:12 of the fourth period before aiding McGuirk's tally at 8:32. However, 14-6 was as close the hosts trimmed their deficit prior to Merrimack scoring six more times in a matter of 4:28.

The Purple Knights visit 19th-ranked Bentley University on Saturday at 1 p.m., continuing an eight-game run versus teams either nationally ranked or receiving national votes. The Falcons' ranking is according to this week's US Lacrosse national poll.