WALTHAM, Mass. – After a scoreless opening 45 minutes, visiting fifth-seed Franklin Pierce scored three times in the second half to eliminate fourth-seeded Bentley University from the Northeast-10 playoffs in the quarterfinals by a score of 3-0 Wednesday afternoon.
The Ravens outshot Bentley 5-0 in the first half and enjoyed the lion's share of possession, and nearly scored on a 25-yard shot by Gareth Dudney in the 27th minute that hit the crossbar.
But Franklin Pierce got its breakthrough in the 59th minute on a goal by grad student Ryan Ruffing, set up by Nico Mueller. Mueller fed Ruffing a diagonal through ball into the penalty area, giving Ruffing an open shot on goal. Ruffing took advantage and slotted home from 12 yards to give the Ravens a 1-0 lead.
Bentley's best chance to score came in the 65th minute off a throw-in from the right sideline by junior back Jordan Bridge (Tolland, Conn./Tolland). Captain Weston Zeiner (North Granby, Conn./Granby Memorial) rose up in the six-yard box to head the ball, only for it to go just over the crossbar.
Less than a minute later, Mueller made Bentley pay for that missed opportunity by scoring to give Franklin Pierce a 2-0 lead. He made a run with the ball down the left wing and finished it with an 18-yard shot that was tucked into the left corner.
With less than three minutes to go before the 90 minute mark, Franklin Pierce made it 3-0 on a goal by senior Marc Santos.
Franklin Pierce improves to 11-4-2 with the win, and awaits the winner from tonight's match between top-seeded Merrimack and eighth-seeded American International in the semifinals. Bentley's record drops to 10-5-2.