NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Bentley University's seven-game winning streak and its hopes of capturing the 2012 Northeast-10 Conference field hockey championship ended Saturday when the second-seeded Falcons dropped a 1-0 decision to third-seeded UMass-Lowell at Merrimack College's Martone-Mejail Field.
UMass-Lowell, ranked sixth in Division II and second in the North Region, will advance to play regular season Merrimack College in Sunday's championship game while Bentley will await the announcement of the NCAA Division II tournament field, which is scheduled for 2 pm Monday on www.ncaa.com. Merrimack rolled to a 6-0 win over Adelphi University in the other semifinal.
The River Hawks (17-3) controlled play most of the game but could crack the Falcon defense only once. That goal was scored by NE-10 Player of the Year Rachel McCarthy (Reading) midway through the second half.
McCarthy maneuvered into the circle, spun to her left and shot through the Falcon D into the left side of the cage. The unassisted tally was her 25th of the season.
Statistically, the River Hawks had a big edge throughout. They had eight shots and seven penalty corners before Bentley attempted its first corner with 12:19 left in the first half, and finished with a 24-5 dominance in shots. UMass-Lowell also had a 15-3 edge in corners. Three of Bentley's shots came during a 60-second barrage with about ten minutes to play.
Senior goalie Julia Powell (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug HS) made seven saves for Bentley, and her counterpart from Lowell, junior Melanie Hopkins (Harwich), made three stops.
The loss, Bentley's first in regulation since Sept. 8, dropped the Falcons, the number nine team in Division II and the third-ranked team in the NCAA Division II North Region, to 11-7.