Bentley’s Run Comes to an End in Overtime, Merrimack Wins NE10 Title 2-1

David Price
David Price

 

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Bentley's run as the No. 8 seed went all the way to overtime of the NE10 Finals, but it was the No. 2 seed Merrimack that walked away with the title 2-1 as a header by Aasmund Joedahl was the winning goal 1:17 into overtime.

Bentley made it all the way to finals after upsets on the road over the top seed Adelphi and the No. 5 seed Le Moyne, but its quest for the NE10 championship came up just short.

Merrimack led most of the way after an 18th minute goal by center back Josue Ruiz Maya, a header off a corner kick to the top of the net.

Bentley then scored a dramatic late equalizer in the 85th minute to help push the game into overtime. Freshman left back Connor Mote (Lisle, Ill./Benet) sent in a dangerous swinging free kick from the right corner to the far post. Freshman Adam Watkins (McConnells, S.C./Clover) won the battle for the loose ball in the six yard box, and poked home the shot just over the line to tie the game up 1-1.

But just 1:17 into overtime, forward Joedahl blasted in a header off a corner kick from Kevin Esper from the left corner to give Merrimack the title.

In between Maya's goal in the first half and Watkins' tying goal, Bentley's keeper David Price (Needham, Mass./Beaver Country) almost single-handily kept the score 1-0 with a string of diving saves. He denied a header by Mattia Lanzi in the 31st minute with a dive to his left, then in the 43rd minute, dove to his left again to save a shot from Liam Born that was headed to the far post.

His best save of the day came in the 80th minute. Lanzi sent a cross from the right wing into the six yard box, that Price and Born met at almost simultaneously, but Price made a point-blank save to keep the score 1-1.

Price, who made 10 saves on the day and Julian Stewart (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxboro), who had two goals and one assist in the tournament, were named to the All-Tournament team from Bentley.

The Falcons' season comes to a close at 7-10-2. They had won five in a row and seven of eight entering today's game.