NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Goals by sophomores Douglas Searl and Julio Leon Garcia lifted Merrimack College to a 2-0 victory over Bentley University in the quarterfinals of the Northeast-10 Men's Soccer Championship Tuesday night.
A scoreless game at halftime, Searl put Merrimack in front 1-0 in the 54th minute, followed by Garcia doubling the lead off a free kick in the 80th minute.
Searl gave Merrimack the first clear chance of the game in the 25th minute, redirecting a cross in the center of the penalty box with a header, but Bentley goalie Jack Blatchford (Douglas, Mass./Douglas) was in position to make the save without having to move much.
Merrimack though got the breakthrough goal from Searl in the 54th minute. After Bentley attempted a clear, Merrimack junior Michael Rincon gained possession and made a run down the right wing that culminated in him sending a cross into the six-yard box just as Searl arrived, allowing him to a power a header into the far post for the goal.
Bentley had a strong response though and followed with its best two chances, only to be denied both times by Merrimack goalie Jose Silva.
A Merrimack foul in the 63rd minute set up a Bentley free kick 30 yards from goal, with freshman Jose Tirado (Lima, Peru/Colegio Franklin Delano Roosevelt) taking it. Tirado swung his kick in towards the far post and was headed for goal, only for Silva to make a diving save and knock it away.
The second chance came off a cross from the left wing from sophomore Nick Hoffman (East Brookfield, Mass./Quabbin Regional) that gave Scott Levy (Canton, Mass./Canton) a shot on goal from 12 yards, but Silva made the save.
The Warriors then went up 2-0 in the 80th minute on Garcia's free kick goal that went in off an unlucky bounce.
With the win Merrimack advances to the semifinals, where they will face Southern Connecticut. Bentley's season comes to a close at 8-8-1.