The Mack Report

Men’s Soccer: Merrimack Not Looking Ahead

Holland Merrimack Soccer

NORTH ANDOVER — Merrimack College has adopted the “one game at a time” approach, but still, it’s hard for the Warriors to not wonder what might be.

The second-seeded Warriors beat No. 7 Bentley, 2-0, on Tuesday night at Martone-Mejail Field and will host No. 3 Southern Connecticut on Friday (7 p.m.) with a chance to make it back to the Northeast-10 championship game, where they could meet up with Southern New Hampshire, the same program that not only beat Merrimack for the NE-10 title last season, but also ousted the Warriors from the NCAA tournament.

Merrimack fell 1-0 in the only meeting between the team’s this season.

“Our mentality is to take it one game at a time,” said Merrimack senior Dan Holland. “If we look too far ahead and not take it one game at a time we could lose and not even be in the position we want to be in. Obviously the thought of the NCAAs and so is playing for an NE-10 title, so we need to take it one game at a time.”

“All of the guys returning remember that Southern New Hampshire game,” Holland continued. “We remember that game and that feeling, losing to the same team in the NE-1o finals and in the NCAAs. They outplayed us in the NE-10 finals, but in the NCAAs we thought we outplayed them and it didn’t turn out for us.”

A potential rematch with SNHU has the Warriors salivating. But first, the Warriors will have to get through a Southern Connecticut team it beat, 3-1, in the regular season.

The Warrior senior class also has the chance to leave behind quite the legacy; Merrimack made the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history last season, and has a chance to return to the tournament this fall.

“The NE-10 finals is the biggest goal right now,” Holland said. “As far as a legacy, everyone wants to leave a program better than they found it. We want to finish what we started last year and build on what we did to get to the NCAAs and make more of a name for our program. I think a lot of people underestimate Merrimack and the NE-1o conference, people think it’s soft, but it’s not, there are a lot of powerhouses in our conference.”

The Warriors are ready for a tough test against the Owls, who finished the regular season 10-5-1 (9-3-1 NE-10); Merrimack finished the season 13-3-1 (10-2-1 NE-10).

“They’re always a tough team,” Holland said. “They’re well coached and come at you for 90 minutes. They have players from all over the world and we’d never take them lightly. We’re going to do all we can do to prepare for them over the next couple of days.”

Holland has watched the Merrimack program grow first hand. The Warriors went 9-8-1 Holland’s freshman year and 9-7-3 his sophomore season before going 15-4-2 his junior season and now 13-3-1 his senior year.

Merrimack is 28-7-3 over the last two seasons.

“It’s on and off the field,” Holland said. “Our team chemistry is great and has been the last two years. Don’t get me wrong, in the past we’ve all gotten along but a lot of guys on this team are best friends. Most of us are roommates and we do everything as a team, which I think goes hand in hand. We know each other so well it helps us on the field, we’re better at anticipating each other.”