Mercyhurst shocks all by finishing second at CWPA Southern Championships

Mercyhurst earned their first-ever CWPA Eastern Championships, as they finished second in the Southern Division Championships.

On the outside looking in, Mercyhurst was not suppose to even compete in the Southern Division Championships, part of that was due to them being a Division II program, and so was that the seeding of the Southern tournament was not seeded to ability.

The Southern Division gave the top five seeds to the Eastern half of the division. That mean despite that Mercyhurst was 10-0 in league play, and won the Division II Eastern Championships, they were regulated to the sixth seed. However, Mercyhurst was a team full of upper classmen, and they were ready to make a splash

Heading into the Southern Championships, they were 19-5, but they struggled against the only tough teams they played. They played St. Francis where they lost by eight and fell by seven goals to Harvard.

Who knows if Johns Hopkins was over looking Mercyhurst, but at the very least they started off slow. Mercyhurst rushed out to a 3-1 lead in the first quarter, and then led 7-3 at the half. It would have been a five-goal lead at the half, but Johns Hopkins converted on a 5-meter penalty shot with 43 seconds left in the half.

In the third quarter, Johns Hopkins made a mini-run in the third to cut it a 7-5 deficit, but Mercyhurst held on tight through the rest of the game to get just their second-ever win over Johns Hopkins, winning 11-8.

With this win over Johns Hopkins, it was all but assured that Mercyhurst would make it to Easterns, as their next game was against Salem International. On the year, Mercyhurst was 3-0 against Salem, and they won 19-15 to move on to face Princeton.

With Princeton being ranked No. 18, the dream was looking like it was going to end. This was only the second ranked team that Mercyhurst would have faced all year. Well, the confidence was flowing and Mercyhurst did not have a let down.

The two teams played tight through most of the game, and Princeton finally started to pull away by taking a 10-7 lead late in the third quarter. Meryhurst's Garret Schoeman began the rally by scoring a goal with just five seconds to go in the third, that goal made it a 10-8 game.

The fourth quarter was very exciting as Mercyhurst scored the first three goals to start the period and take a one-goal game. Princeton did respond to tie it at 11 goals, but the game-winner came with 2:13 left by James Owen. The defense held onto get the biggest win in the program's history.

With that win over Princeton, they were guaranteed a top-two seed at the Eastern Championships. The Southern title game was against No. 3 seeded Bucknell, but the magic ran out as Mercyhurst fell 9-4. They fell behind 3-0 after the first quarter, and made it close at the half and trailed just 4-2. Bucknell picked up their offense, and stopped Mercyhurt's offense to win the Southern title.

Getting to the Eastern Championships is huge for Mercyhurst's program. This will allow them to get a boost in recruiting some better players that may not have thought of the school. The boost may not be huge, but they might get a player who was considering a school just above them.

This is something to build off of, and they have a real shot to make it to the semifinals of the Eastern Championships as their first game is against MIT. The two schools played way back in September, and Mercyhurst earned a 12-9 win.

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