MANCHESTER, N.H. – Gigi Guenther scored the lone goal of the game in the 14th minute to give Merrimack College a 1-0 victory over the Saint Anselm College women's soccer team as the Hawks celebrated Senior Day on Saturday afternoon at Melucci Field.
Guenther scored off an assist from Tori Daigle after 13:25 for Merrimack (9-8-0, 6-8-0 NE10) in a battle of two teams vying for the final spot in the upcoming Northeast-10 Conference Championship. Saint Anselm (6-8-2, 4-8-2 NE10) needed a win and a New Haven win over Bentley to grab the number eight seed, but the Falcons topped the Chargers in overtime earlier in the day. The Warriors remain in contention for the eighth spot, needing Le Moyne to lose at Pace later in the day.
Prior to the game, Saint Anselm recognized the efforts over the last four years of its senior class of four student-athletes: Jessica Kaufman, Kaila Sullivan, Olivia Griffin and Alexis Elowitch. The quartet helped the Hawks to 26 wins over their four-year careers while playing in 222 games collectively.
Guenther and Daigle connected for the game's only goal in the 14th minute for Merrimack. At the top of the box, Daigle slipped a ball in behind the Saint Anselm defense, Guenther ran onto it, took two touches and slotted past a rushing Payton Wildrick. Wildrick made seven saves in the game for the Hawks, the second-highest total of her young career.
Wildrick made two saves in the two minutes immediately following Guenther's goal to keep it a 1-0 game. Saint Anselm had its best chance to tie the game in the 18th minute, but Erin Fulton produced two saves to keep out back-to-back shots by Nicole Scarfo after the freshman beat a defender on the right end line. Fulton earned the victory with a four-save shutout for Merrimack.
Daigle rattled a shot off the cross bar in the 49th minute as the Warriors went in search of a second goal. Merrimack outshot Saint Anselm by a 17-2 margin in the second half but could not find an insurance goal.
Wildrick made a diving save on Taylor Cogliano in the 77th minute after Cogliano was in on goal and the Hawks' defense blocked Izzy McDonnell's follow-up was blocked on the line by Delaney Bartol. A little less than 10 minutes later, Sophie Smith was on hand to block a goal-bound shot by McDonnell. Bartol again blocked a shot headed for the back of the net with 2:35 to go to keep the score at 1-0.
Saint Anselm concludes its season at 6-8-2 overall and 4-8-2 in the NE10, with five of its six victories coming at Melucci Field.