WALTHAM, Mass. – The Bentley men's soccer team is headed to the NE10 Finals after they defeated another higher seed with a 2-1 victory over Le Moyne in the semifinals on Friday afternoon.
It's the 5th straight win for the Falcons, all by 2-1 scores, and 7th in their last eight games. It's the second straight higher seed Bentley has defeated in the NE10 playoffs, after they eliminated the top seed Adelphi in the quarterfinals, and now the No. 5 seed Le Moyne in the semis.
Le Moyne jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a goal by freshman Patrick Strauss in the 20th minute. A free kick was sent in from the left by Marcello Palucci that fell into the six yard box. Strauss won the battle for it, and poked in a shot from close range to give the Dolphins an early lead.
Bentley though had a response only five minutes later, as Sean Sullivan (Suffield, Conn./Suffield) and Julian Stewart (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxboro) combined for the tying goal in the 25th minute. Stewart got it started with a run down the right wing, and a pass into the 18 yard box for Sullivan. Sullivan got on the end of Stewart's pass in the six yard box and fired a low shot past Le Moyne keeper Ben Beaury for the tying goal.
The match went into halftime tied 1-1.
Just five minutes after halftime, the Falcons scored the go-ahead goal as freshman back Connor Mote (Lisle, Ill./Benet) struck from 18 yards out.
Senior midfielder Eric Spangler (Lafayette, Colo./Centaurus) helped get the goal started by chasing down a loose ball in Bentley's attacking end and prevented it from going out of bounds. He played a pass back senior Dan Anderson (Bedford, Mass./Bedford), who then chipped a pass forward to Spangler on the right flank. Spangler again chased it down, and dribbled into the middle of the field, where he fed Mote at the top of the 18 yard box. Mote got off a low shot that got past a diving Beaury for a 2-1 Bentley lead in the 51st minute.
Four minutes later, Bentley nearly made it 3-1 when Colby Gould (Exeter, N.H./Exeter) won a race to a loose ball in the 18 yard box, and chipped a shot towards goal, only for Beaury to chase it down and prevent the goal.
On Le Moyne's next trip down the field, Bentley keeper David Price (Needham, Mass./Beaver Country) made a huge save to deny a header from Salary Faryar from close range after a cross had been sent in from the left wing.
Price made another huge save to deny a tying goal in the 81st minute when he dove to his left to stop a hard shot from Adam Resetarits off a volley.
Le Moyne had a potential tying goal in the 89th minute called back for off sides, and the Falcons hung on to seal their first trip to the NE10 finals since 2010.
Bentley will now face either No. 2 seed Merrimack or No. 3 seed Southern Connecticut in the finals on Sunday at 1 pm, at the home site of either team.