Bradford helps drop hometown team as Cards top Hawks

Photo courtesy of Mary Pelrine Merrimack’s Tyler Rohr connects with a pitch during a recent game. The Tomahawks beat South 1-0 on Monday.

MERRIMACK – Bishop Guertin came out firing and didn’t stop.

Olivia Koutsos scored 27 seconds into the Cardinals’ game at Merrimack, she found Kate Bradford for two more quick goals and the Cardinals started an offensive barrage that culminated in a 14-4 girls lacrosse victory over Merrimack on Tuesday at Merrimack High School.

The key early on was the passing and teamwork from Koutsos and Bradford that led to the first three Bishop Guertin goals.

“We have a connection, it’s hard to explain,” Bradford said. “Every time we’re on field together we always have an eye for each other. We’ve been together since freshman year and we’re the best of friends. It’s always work and we’re kind of the 1-2 punch on the team.”

Koutsos took control at the start and quickly darted in for the game’s first goal and a 1-0 lead.

She found Bradford for the following two goals and stretched the lead to 3-0 before the home team could blink.

“It was big,” Bradford, a Merrimack resident, said of the start. “This is always a really scrappy team. They’ve got good players on their team and we just knew that we had to work hard. This is my hometown team, so it was good to get up on them fast.”

A Kayli Keenan goal on a penalty shot made it 4-0 BG with 20:46 to play in the opening half and forced a timeout.

On the other side, Merrimack needed a mental reminder.

“We’re just kind of a young team, so I told them to get their heads in (the game),” Merrimack coach Sarah Rothhaus said. “It’s all about experience.”

Once Merrimack did get its chance, Guertin goalkeeper Grace Young stuffed the first shot from the Tomahawks and Koutsos swarmed the offensive player on the next possession and got her team the ball back.

While not at the same furious pace, Katie Lupo and Emily Santom added goals to extend the lead to 6-0 just inside the halfway mark of the opening half.

After Santom completed the first half hat trick to make it 8-0 BG, Jolie Jacoby notched the first Merrimack goal of the cold afternoon with 37 seconds to play before the break.

Bradford added her third of the day out of the half and Koutsos made it 10-1 shortly after.

With the running clock looming, Merrimack showed some offensive prowess.

Sydney Dubois cut into the lead with a goal and after another Koutsos score, Amber Brewster added back-to-back goals to slice the lead to 11-4 in favor of the visitors.

The Tomahawks would get no closer though as Bradford’s fourth and final goal of the day expanded the lead to 12-4 with just over five minutes to play and BG added two more for good measure to make the 14-4 result.

“I think defense was good at the start and we got a little weaker,” Bishop Guertin coach Kerry D’Ambroise said. “In the middle, we were kind of in transition and we got a little tired at the end.”

Bishop Guertin connected on 14 of 20 shots on the day and got 10 total goals from Bradford, Koutsos and Santom.

Brewster scored half of her team’s four less than a minute and a half apart in the second frame.

Merrimack (5-5) will look to bounce back with a road matchup at Keene today.