NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Sophomore Caitlin Villareal (Portsmouth, R.I.) registered a career-high eight points and junior Marissa Daly (Marshfield, Mass.) notched six goals to lead the Saint Anselm College women's lacrosse team to Saturday afternoon's 15-6 victory against Merrimack College at Martone-Mejail Field.
The Hawks run their program-record best start to 7-0, including 4-0 in Northeast-10 play, while the Warriors sink to 2-7, 1-5 NE-10.
Villareal matched her career best with five goals to go along with three assists.
Merrimack grabbed the lead, 1-0, 10:53 into the contest on an Aubrie Stouffer free-position goal. It marked just the third time Saint Anselm had trailed all season and the Warriors became just the second team in seven games to hold a lead over the Hawks.
Saint Anselm did not take long to respond, however, as junior Kelly Pickett (Chelmsford, Mass.), who matched a career high with three assists, set up Villareal to knot the game just 14 seconds later at 18:53. Pickett again took on the role of playmaker less than a minute later as she fed Daly for a strike at 17:58 that gave the Hawks a 2-1 lead.
Merrimack answered back as Stouffer connected with Kelly Metzger to tie the game at 2-all with 14:24 remaining in the opening half, but Saint Anselm closed the frame on a 4-0 run over the final 5:40 to take a 6-2 lead into the break. Junior Kaitlyn Stazinski (Pembroke, Mass.) put the Hawks in front for good, while Villareal followed with her own unassisted tally to stretch the lead to 4-2 with 1:32 left. A free-position strike from sophomore Erin Marshall (Woburn, Mass.) with 22 ticks left and a Daly-from-Villareal connection with nine seconds on the clock ended the first-half scoring.
Stouffer found Metzger 1:27 into the second half to pull the Warriors within three, but Daly answered that and another Merrimack score to make it 8-4 with 22:45 to play. Villareal struck again under a minute later, but Stouffer potted her second of the day just over a minute-and-a-half later to keep Merrimack close at 9-5 with 19:31 remaining.
Nearly six minutes later, the Hawks put it away with a 6-0 barrage that featured two goals apiece from Villareal, Marshall and Daly to make it 15-5 with 1:42 to go. Merrimack tacked on one more with five seconds left to close the scoring.
Sophomore goalkeeper Jane Bunn (St. John's, Fla.) stopped 6 of 11 shots over the first 52:13 of action, while junior Allee Ramzi (Cumberland, R.I.) turned away one of the two shots she faced in the final 7:47. Inna Hedden made seven saves for Merrimack.
Saint Anselm held a 27-17 advantage in shots, including 17-8 in the second half, and also held a slim 12-11 edge in draw controls. The Hawks were 3-for-7 on their free-position chances, while the Warriors went 1-for-5.
The Hawks return to action Wednesday, April 2 at 4 p.m. when they play host to Franklin Pierce University at Grappone Stadium. Stay up-to-date with the latest news, including game previews and recaps, directly from the Saint Anselm College athletic department by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter @STAHawks.