RINDGE, N.H. – Junior midfielder Meredith Hart (Fairport, N.Y./Fairport) had five goals and senior attack Jackie Brown (Brookfield, Conn./Brookfield) netted four goals to lead No. 19 Bentley past Franklin Pierce 20-11 on Wednesday afternoon. The Falcons clinch a Northeast-10 playoff spot with the win.
Hart set a career high with her five goals, while Brown scored at least four for the sixth time this season. Bentley improves to 8-4 in the NE-10 and is headed back to the postseason for the fourth straight year.
Bentley jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead after just over three minutes of action. Hart had the first two goals inside the first 3:08. Junior Kelsey Howard (Scarborough, Maine/Scarborough) then scored her 19th goal of the season just 25 seconds after Hart's second goal.
The teams then alternated goals over the next 11 minutes, as Franklin Pierce got to within 5-3 after a goal by midfielder Caitlin Sweeney at the 13:18 mark.
But after Sweeney's goal, Bentley went on a 3-0 run that was started with a goal from senior Amy Ernst (Long Valley, N.J./West Morris). Hart and Brown then scored 38 seconds apart to give the Falcons an 8-3 lead with just over 11 minutes remaining in the half.
The Ravens though scored the final two goals of the half, the last coming with 54 seconds left from attacker Lauren Beville, to make it 8-5 for the Falcons at halftime.
Franklin Pierce briefly carried that momentum into the second half by getting a goal from attacker Nicole Dale just 2:51 in, but Bentley proceeded to rip off a 4-0 run that took less than three minutes. The run featured Howard's second of the day and Hart's fourth to give them a 12-6 lead at the 23:28 mark.
After a Ravens goal, Bentley went on another 4-0 run that gave them a commanding 16-7 lead with just over 12 minutes remaining. Brown had two goals during the streak, and Erin O'Connor (Longmeadow, Mass./Longmeadow) and Ellie Shuman (Nashua, N.H./Nashua North) also scored.
Three straight Franklin Pierce goals made it a 16-10 game with just over nine minutes remaining. Neither team would score for the next four minutes, but Bentley closed with four of the game's final five goals. Brown had her fourth of the game, and 38th of the season, and Hart added her fifth of the day with 2:28 left.
Bentley will now close out the regular season on Saturday at home against Merrimack. Game time is 12:00 pm.