Flurry of goals gives ’Hawks win over Londonderry
Three goals were scored in a span of 2:43 during Tuesday’s Division 1 preliminary round field hockey game between Merrimack and Londonderry high schools.
When the dust settled the Tomahawks came out ahead and held on for a 2-1 win. They will travel to play a quarterfinal match at Salem on Friday.
Merrimack coach Ann MacLean said that keeping her team together emotionally during the scoring stretch in the first half was difficult but No. 6 the ’Hawks were able to hold it together.
“It’s hard because you got to tell the kids that they’ve got to keep executing and putting forth that effort,” MacLean said. “You have to keep your heads up, stay focused, and play your game. It was really exciting; it could have gone either way.”
Callie Dwyer opened up the scoring for Merrimack (8-6-1) at the 19:44 mark of the first half, when she cleaned up a rebound to the keeper’s right. No. 11 Londonderry (4-8-3) responded 59 seconds later when Julie Hamilton pounded home a one-timer from point-blank range.
Merrimack’s Dana Mendes capped the frantic few minutes when she rifled home a shot from 10 yards out.
“Scoring is the best feeling in the world honestly,” Mendes said. “The corner was pretty simple; it just came to me up top and I hit it in. I made sure I was inside and I drilled it.”
The game slowed down drastically in the second half as the intense transition game was replaced by a much slower ball-possession game. Mendes and the Merrimack attack controlled the ball and tempo for much of the final 30 minutes.
“I could tell that both teams were getting tired, but we definitely picked it up at the end,” Mendes said. “We’re definitely a second half team. I’m just glad that we picked it up.”
The Merrimack defense was able to trap the Lancers for much of the second half and didn’t let Londonderry muster many quality chances.
The win was Merrimack’s third in a row. In that span, the ’Hawks have outscored their opponents 9-1. Even with the recent success, Mendes said that there is much left to be accomplishment and complacency cannot infect the team.
“We just keep going at it,” Mendes said. “At practice we make sure we’re focused; during warmup we make sure we’re focused. We have that positive attitude that even if we score it’s a 0-0 game. You can’t get cocky, you can’t think that you’ve won it all because anything can happen.”
The Tomahawks will enter their next game against a Salem team that has won it’s last seven games by a combined score of 26-4. The No. 3 Blue Devils (12-2) narrowly beat Merrimack 3-2 on Sept. 6.
“We’ll talk about what we did right and what we did wrong and focus and keep working hard,” MacLean said. “We’ll look at some game footage and figure it out.”