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April 19, 2012

Bentley Set for Saturday Showdown with No. 6 Merrimack at Gillette Stadium

WALTHAM, Mass. – Northeast-10 men's lacrosse rivals Bentley (3-6, 3-3 NE-10) and No. 6 Merrimack (9-2, 5-2 NE-10) will take their rivalry to a new venue on Saturday when the teams face-off at Gillette Stadium as part of the New England Lacrosse Classic. Game time is set for 2:30 p.m.

Tickets for the New England Lacrosse Classic are $15 (including parking) and can be purchased via www.ticketmaster.com or day of game at the Gillette Stadium Ticket Office Saturday beginning at noon. Group tickets (20 or more) can be ordered by calling 508-549-0178. The University of Massachusetts will take on Hofstra at 5:00 p.m. in the day's second game.

This will be the first ever game for the Falcons at Gillette, which is hosting the 2012 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championships in May.

Setting aside the venue, this will be an important game for Bentley, which is fighting for a spot in the NE-10 playoffs with four games left. The top-six teams make the postseason, and Bentley is currently on the outside looking in in seventh place, though they have played two fewer games than the two teams tied for fifth, Saint Michael's and Franklin Pierce.

Saturday's game is also the start of a very busy stretch for the Falcons, who will play four games in eight days beginning with the Merrimack contest to close out the regular season. They host Franklin Pierce on Monday, visit AIC on April 25 and play at No. 5 Adelphi on April 28.

Both teams will take the field on Saturday coming off victories. Bentley fell behind 3-1 to Southern New Hampshire after the first quarter on Tuesday, but used runs of 5-0 in the second quarter and 3-0 in the fourth quarter to take a 10-7 victory over the Penmen. Merrimack has won two straight after beating Saint Anselm 11-10 in overtime Tuesday night on a goal by junior attack Greg Melaugh.

The Falcons have been paced offensively this season by a trio of seniors, J.D. Ayer (Rochester, N.Y./McQuaid Jesuit), Brendan Grant (Walpole, Mass./Xaverian Brothers) and Richard Travers (Longmeadow, Mass./Longmeadow), who are the team's top-three scorers. Ayer leads the team in goals (17) and points (19), and Grant is second in both categories with 15 and 18. Travers has nine goals and nine assists to share second-place on the team in points with Grant.

The Warriors feature the league's second leading goal scorer in junior midfielder Corey Lunney (30) and the fifth leading playmaker in sophomore attack Paul Jones (20 assists).

The all-time series has been almost even, but the Falcons hold a slight 13-12 edge after the team's split two one-goal games last season. Bentley won the regular season contest 9-8 in North Andover behind hat tricks from Grant and Nick Astarita (Bedford, N.H./Bishop Guertin). The Warriors though extracted revenge in the NE-10 quarterfinals with a 10-9 victory at Bentley.

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