WALTHAM, Mass. – After qualifying for the Northeast-10 Men's Soccer Championship for the sixth straight season, the Bentley Falcons are seeded seventh in the tournament and will take on second seeded Merrimack in the quarterfinals. The match takes place Tuesday night at 7:00 pm at Merrimack's Martone-Mejail Field.
The game can be seen live on MerrimackAthletics.TV for $8.95.
The Falcons finished the regular season 7-6 in the Northeast-10 for 21 points and to finish in 7th place, one point behind 6th place Franklin Pierce. Merrimack went 10-2-1 in NE-10 matches for 31 points and to finish in 2nd place, eight points off the pace of 1st place Southern New Hampshire.
Merrimack defeated Bentley 2-1 in an early season meeting between the two teams back on Sept. 18 in North Andover. Bentley's Jordan Bridge (Tolland, Conn./Tolland) gave his side a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute, but the Warriors tied it in the 33rd minute on a goal by midfielder Augusto Silva. The score stayed 1-1 until Merrimack's Henrique Etges netted the winner in the 79th minute.
The Falcons though bounced back well from that defeat as they proceeded to go on a five-match winning streak.
This season Bentley was led offensively by the duo of sophomores Scott Levy (Canton, Mass./Canton) and Marty Ryan (Albany, N.Y./Albany). Levy struck for eight goals this season and is currently 3rd in the Northeast-10. Ryan burst onto the scene with nine assists to lead the conference, which is also tied for 7th in Division II.
While Levy led the team in goals, the scoring was balanced after him. Ryan and sophomore Nico Ucros (Guatemala City, Guatemala/Jules Verne French) were next on the leaders list with three each. The 24 total goals the team scored ranks fourth in the conference.
Sophomore keeper Jack Blatchford (Douglas, Mass./Douglas) has started 13 straight matches for Bentley and posted three shutouts during the regular season. In front of him, co-captain Bridge has led a back-four that has stayed consistent throughout the season. Bridge started all 16 matches, as did sophomore Stephen Silva (Suffield, Conn./Suffield). Center-backs Joe Avery (Schenectady, N.Y./Mohonasen) and Tom Fitzpatrick (Coventry, Conn./East Catholic) each started 15 matches.
On the other side Merrimack has had balanced scoring, with Silva leading the team with just four. 13 different players have scored the team's 23 goals. Junior Ryan Miller led the team in assists with four. Junior Jose Silva started every match in goal and posted a 12-3-1 record with a 0.56 goals against average that is 2nd in the Northeast-10.
The Warriors had the second best defensive record in the NE-10 during the regular season, allowing just nine goals in 16 matches played.
Tuesday's match will be the first playoff meeting between the two sides since the 1998 Northeast-10 playoffs and third overall. Bentley holds a 2-1 advantage, including a win in the 1994 NE-10 championship game. Bentley leads the all-time series 24-18-3.
The other quarterfinal matchups in the Men's Soccer Championship will see top seed Southern New Hampshire host eight seeded Saint Rose, third seeded Southern Connecticut host sixth seeded Franklin Pierce and fourth seeded Adelphi host fifth seeded Le Moyne.
The winner of the Bentley/Merrimack match will face the winner of the Southern Conn/Franklin Pierce match in the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 8. The championship match is on Sunday, Nov. 10.