WALTHAM, Mass. – The Bentley University Falcons rallied to tie the game twice, the last time with three minutes left in regulation, but came up short in the end, dropping a 4-3 overtime decision to Merrimack College in college field hockey action at Bentley Thursday night.
It was the season-opener for both clubs, who were both listed in the preseason NFHCA Division II coaches' poll, and considered a non-conference contest. Merrimack was ranked first in the Northeast-10 and fifth nationally preseason while Bentley was second and eighth in the respective polls.
Following a save by sophomore Katie Kelley (Walpole/Walpole HS), Merrimack sophomore Christine Zubkus (Dover, N.H.) knocked in the rebound for the game-winner with 9:34 left in the 15-minute sudden-death overtime session. That was the Warriors' fourth shot of OT.
Merrimack opened a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes following goals by sophomore Katrina Squeri (Chelmsford) and freshman Hannah Magerman (Franklin). Bentley got one back before intermission, with sophomore Leah Winer (Longmeadow/Longmeadow HS) credited with her first career goal after her shot went off the Warrior defender.
Bentley evened things up for the first time in the 13th minute of the second half with both teams playing a man down at the time. Sophomore Meghan Talerman (Centerville/Barnstable HS) drove the ball into the cage from 15 yards out, making it a 2-2 game with 22:23 left.
Merrimack regained the advantage when senior Candace Waldie (North Andover) tallied her first of the year with 15:50 left, shooting from about eight yards out. It remained a 3-2 game until Bentley sophomore Becca Moore (Belmont/Belmont HS) scored out of a scramble following a penalty corner.
Kelley had nine saves for Bentley in her first career start while sophomore Madison Davis (San Jose, Calif.) had two for Merrimack in her collegiate debut.
Merrimack finished with a 17-10 edge in shots, including 4-0 in OT, while Bentley had one more penalty corner, 9-8. Five of those came in the final seven minutes of regulation as the Falcons controlled the tempo late.
Bentley will look for win number one Saturday night when it hosts Oberlin College at 7 pm.