It wasn’t a hometown Cinderella story for Merrimack, as the Warriors dropped the Division II championship game to Limestone on Sunday, 11-9. The Saints scored five goals in the third quarter, and won all seven face-offs, and it was too much for Merrimack to overcome.
Kevin Reisman, who was drafted by the Ohio Machine in the Major League Lacrosse draft earlier in the day, won 17-of-24 faceoffs and was named the game’s most outstanding player.
“You know, with Kevin, the team spends so much time and energy focusing on Kevin, and they put three long-stick middies out there at one time today,” said head coach J.B. Clarke. “I don't know if they did it a bunch, but he did a great job this year of working harder with the wing guys and allowing them to help him more than they have in the past.”
Merrimack held a 5-4 lead at the half, but the Saints offense exploded and their defense held the Warriors to just four goals in the second half.
Merrimack midfielder John Bassett began the second half scoring, but the net five goals were scored by Limestone. The Warriors also scored the first two of the fourth, but two straight from the Saints put it out of reach.
Goaltender Cole Aikens made 13 saves in his 16th victory of the season in cage for the Saints.
Earlier this season, Limestone fell to Merrimack, 18-13, for their only loss of the season. While the Saints offense didn’t produce as much as it had in the final regular season game, it was the defense that also allowed four fewer goals that made it happen.
“We didn't change our game plan very much,” said Clarke. “They set a lot of picks for guys. They had big, strong athletes coming over the top on you. We didn't cover that very well in the first game. This time we had a little bit more time to prepare.”
With the win, the Saints have won three titles in the past four seasons.
“It's unbelievable, like Coach Clarke just said, this senior group, we kind of came together after last year, a heartbreaking season, like what we thought was one of the best teams in Division II history last year,” said Reisman. “But we kind of fell apart towards the end of the season. So, this season we just knew the seniors, this is our team.”
Merrimack vs. Limestone Final Team Stats