WALTHAM, Mass. – Bentley University's Northeast-10 playoff hopes received a huge boost Tuesday night with a 12-8 victory over 11th-ranked Merrimack in women's lacrosse play. Junior Megan Wiggins (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxborough) keyed the attack with five goals.
Bentley improves to 4-3 in NE-10 with five games to go, and will hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Warriors if the teams are tied at the end of the season. Merrimack drops to 5-4 in the conference.
While the offense put enough goals on the board, Bentley's defense was the story, holding Merrimack to well below its average of 15 goals per game. Freshman goalie Ally Dorman (Simsbury, Conn./Simsbury) made 11 saves to earn the win and the defense as a group caused 12 turnovers, led by three from junior Lisa Petitto (Wakefield, Mass./Wakefield).
Bentley was especially stingy in the game's later stages. After Merrimack's Maria DeStefano scored the second of back-to-back goals with 18:24 remaining in the game to tie the score at seven, Bentley allowed just one more goal the rest of the way.
Just 23 seconds after DeStefano knotted the game up, sophomore Margeaux Guercia (Boxford, Mass./Masconomet) put Bentley ahead for good. Wiggins scored her fourth goal of the night at the 9:57 mark and freshman Chelsea Larivee (Amherst, N.H./Souhegan) scored two minutes later to give the Falcons a 10-7 lead.
Both Wiggins' and Larivee's goals were assisted by junior Torre Taylor (Locust Valley, N.Y./Friends Academy), who finished with three helpers on the night.
Junior Colleen Strachan scored for Merrimack with 5:03 left on the clock to make it a two-goal game, but freshman Carolyn Kynoch (Ashland, Mass./Ashland) and Wiggins scored down the stretch to put the game away.
The Falcons never trailed in this game after Wiggins opened the scoring 3:46 into the first half. Their biggest lead was 4-1 after Wiggins scored her second, but the Warriors cut it to 4-3 after goals by sophomore Jen Pino and junior Mary Pasquantonio. However, sophomore Cori Geiger (Agawam, Mass./Agawam) and Wiggins scored to close out the half to give Bentley a 6-3 lead at the break.
With the win, Bentley evens its record to 6-6. They'll look to get above the .500 mark on Saturday when they host Assumption.
At Waltham, Mass.
Merrimack (8-5, 5-4 NE-10) 3 5 -- 8
Bentley (6-6, 4-3 NE-10) 6 6 -- 12
Goals: B, Megan Wiggins 5, Cori Geiger 2, Chelsea Larivee 1, Margeaux Guerica 1, Carolyn Kynoch 1, Kelsie Tidman 1, Dovlyn Curtis 1; M, Mary Pasquantonio 3, Maria DeStefano 2, Colleen Strachan 2, Jen Pino 1; B, Torre Taylor 3, Geiger 1, Guercia 1, Larivee 1, Gillian Paradis 1; M, Pasquantonio 1
Shots: B, 22; M, 23
Saves: B, Ally Dorman 11; M, Inna Hedden 8
Ground Balls: B, 27; M, 29
Draw Controls: B, 9; M, 11