#8 Stonehill Hosts #13 Merrimack in NE-10 Tournament Opener Wednesday Night

Junior All-American Kelsey Reilly has shattered the program record for draw controls in a season and is among the team leaders in most categories heading into the postseason. (PHOTO BY Shane Bufano)

Third-seeded Skyhawks seek NE-10 record 14th-straight trip to Conference semifinals 

EASTON, Mass. (May 1, 2012) – Third-seeded Stonehill College, ranked eighth in the most recent Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Division II poll, opens its record 14th appearance in the Northeast-10 Conference women's lacrosse tournament as it hosts sixth-seeded and No. 13-ranked Merrimack College in first round action at Timothy J. Coughlin Memorial Field at W.B. Mason Stadium on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Admission for Wednesday night's game will be $5.00 for adults, $3.00 for children and senior citizens and $1.00 for students from participating teams with valid ID. Wednesday's game will also be webcast via www.stonehillskyhawks.tv, marking the inaugural women's lacrosse webcast by Stonehill, for $5.99 with Scott Sudikoff providing the play-by-play. Live stats will also be available via www.stonehillskyhawks.com.

Stonehill (13-4, 10-2 NE-10) has appeared in all 14 NE-10 Tournaments since the Conference started sponsoring the event in 1999. The Skyhawks have reached at least the semifinal round all 13 years to date and have won an NE-10 record nine championships – doing so consecutively from 2000 through 2008. Merrimack's (7-8, 7-5 NE-10) 12 NE-10 Tournament appearances are second only to Stonehill and the Warriors are seeking their tenth semifinal appearance and first NE-10 title, having finished as runners up on three occasions.

Stonehill enters the postseason winners of four of its last six to close out the regular season despite a 14-8 setback at top-seeded and No. 4-ranked Le Moyne College on Saturday afternoon with a chance for clinch a share of the NE-10 regular season crown. The Skyhawks rank third in the NE-10 for scoring (14th nationally) with 15.7 goals per game, while ranking fourth with a 9.84 team goals against average (11th). The Skyhawks are second in the league with 14.8 draw controls (19th) and 10.3 caused turnovers per game (12th), while clearing 77.1-percent of their chances for the year.

Juniors Kayla Green (Londonderry, N.H./Londonderry) and Heather Sullivan (Andover, Mass./Andover) have provided the bulk of scoring for Stonehill this season. Green leads the Skyhawks with 66 points (8th NE-10) on 50 goals (8th) and 16 assists (18th), while Sullivan has netted a team-high 51 goals (7th) to go with eight assists for 59 points (15th).

Senior All-American Sarah Galligan played a key role in the Skyhawks regular season win over Merrimack and enters the postseason with ten points of 200 for her career. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Junior All-American Kelsey Reilly (Hingham, Mass./Notre Dame Academy) has been dominant all over the field for Stonehill having shattered the program record with her 109 draw controls this season (2nd NE-10/6th nationally). She has also totaled 38 goals and a team-high 19 assists for 57 points while also leading the Skyhawks with a Conference-best 54 ground balls and 36 caused turnovers (2nd NE-10/6th nationally).

Senior All-American Samantha Lynott (Holbrook, N.Y./Sachem East), who became the program's 11th 200-point scorer this season has totaled 38 goals and 15 assists for 40 points in just 13 games played, while also contributing 42 draw controls and 19 caused turnovers. Classmate and All-American Sarah Galligan (West Newbury, Mass./Pentucket Regional) enters the postseason ten points shy of becoming the program's 12th 200 point scorer having totaled 25 goals and 15 assists for 40 points, adding 38 ground balls (15th) and 23 caused turnovers (9th).

Junior Jessica Guisti (Walpole, Mass./Northfield Mount Hermon), sophomore Lauren Bonagura (Rockville Center, N.Y./Sacred Heart Academy) and freshman Elizabeth Lane (Sandwich, Mass./Bishop Stang) lead the Stonehill defensive unit. Guisti is second on the team with 44 ground balls (9th NE-10) and 26 caused turnovers (6th).

Freshman Ashley Armstrong (Northborough, Mass./Algonquin Regional) has seen the majority of time in goal for Stonehill. She has posted a 10.61 goals against average (5th) and .486 save percentage (3rd) in 616:23, averaging 7.9 saves per game. Junior All-American Rebecca Moore (Marlborough, Mass./St. Mark's School) has played 407:37 over nine games and posted an 8.68 goals against average (4th) and .454 save percentage (7th) with 6.6 saves per game.

Merrimack enters the postseason having won three of its last four following a 12-8 setback to Stonehill at W.B. Mason Stadium on April 12 as the Warriors closed out the regular season with a 14-9 win at Franklin Pierce University last Tuesday. Merrimack, who has not played a home game since 12-11 triple-overtime loss to Bentley University on April 10, ranks sixth in the NE-10 with an 11.95 team goals against average while ranking eighth in scoring with 12.33 goals per game. The Warriors are 11th in the NE-10 with 12.9 draw controls per game.

Junior Kayla Green leads the Skyhawks in scoring this season with 66 points. (PHOTO BY Shane Bufano)

Senior Colleen Strachan (Bedford, Mass./Bedford) leads the Merrimack offense with 39 goals (18th NE-10) and 23 assists (8th) for 62 points (11th), converting 16-of-31 free-position attempts, adding 29 ground balls, a team-high 44 draw controls (13th) and 22 caused turnovers (10th).

Junior Jenn Pino (North Andover, Mass./North Andover) has added 24 goals and 13 assists for 37 points with 42 draw controls (14th), 22 ground balls and 13 caused turnovers, while senior Alicia Tinsley (Shrewsbury, Mass./Shrewsbury) has contributed 27 goals and five assists for 32 points.

Junior Sam Kiesel (Andover, Mass./Kent's Hill School) has seen the majority of minutes in goal for Merrimack, posting a 10.79 goals against average (6th) and .471 save percentage (6th) in 650:45, with 8.7 saves per game.

Wednesday night marks the 25th meeting all-time between these two programs, the eighth in the NE-10 tournament. Stonehill has won each of the 24 previous encounters between the two programs, including a 7-0 clip in the NE-10 tournament, defeating Merrimack in three NE-10 championship games. 

Stonehill outscored Merrimack 8-2 in the second half on their way to the 12-8 win at W.B. Mason Stadium 19 days ago. Galligan scored three of her game-high four goals in the second half to spur the Skyhawks rally from a two goal (6-4) halftime deficit to the victory. Reilly was dominant on both ends of the field and she finished with a team-high five points on two goals and three assists while also leading the team with eight ground balls, eight caused turnovers and six draw controls. Senior Mary Pasquantonio (Plainville, Mass./King Phillip Regional) led Merrimack with three goals, while sophomore Olivia Huie (Norwell, Mass./Norwell) contributed two goals and an assist for three points, adding three ground balls and a caused turnover.

The winner of Wednesday night's game will advance to this weekend's NE-10 final four, hosted by top-seeded Le Moyne, to face second-seeded and two-time defending NE-10 champions Adelphi University (14-2, 11-1 NE-10) in the second of two semifinals on Saturday at 2 p.m. The NE-10 Championship will be played on Sunday, May 6, at a time to be announced pending Le Moyne hosting the men's championship that same day.

2012 Northeast-10 Conference
Women's Lacrosse Championships

First Round
Wednesday, May 2
#6 Merrimack (7-8, 7-5 NE-10) at #3 Stonehill (13-4, 10-2 NE-10), 7 p.m.
#5 New Haven (13-4, 8-4 NE-10) at #4 Bentley (12-5, 9-3 NE-10), 7 p.m.

Semifinals (hosted by Le Moyne College, Syracuse, N.Y.)
Saturday, May 5
New Haven/Bentley winner at #1 Le Moyne (15-1, 12-0 NE-10), 11 a.m.
Merrimack/Stonehill winner vs. #2 Adelphi (14-2, 11-1 NE-10), 2 p.m.

Championship (hosted by Le Moyne, Syracuse, N.Y.)
Sunday, May 6
Semifinal winners, TBA