Waltham, Mass. – Goals from Adam Watkins (McConnells, S.C./Clover) and Nick Halliday (Cranbury, N.J./Princeton High) and some big saves by goalkeeper David Price (Needham, Mass./Beaver Country) saw the Bentley men's soccer team upend No. 6 ranked Merrimack 2-1 on Wednesday afternoon.
In a rematch of last season's NE10 championship game, Bentley got the better of the Warriors this time around.
Watkins gave Bentley the perfect start, as he scored just 1:12 into the match with a header off a corner kick. Sophomore Connor Mote (Lisle, Ill./Benet) sent the kick in, and Watkins rose up inside the six yard box and smashed it into the back of the net for the early lead.
Just eight minutes later Merrimack had a chance to tie when they were awarded a penalty kick after a foul in the box. But Price came up with the crucial save by diving to his left to save the kick by Aasmund Joedhahl.
Bentley then went ahead 2-0 in the 55th minute with Halliday's third goal of the season. Sophomore Jackson Fotter (Gorham, Maine/Gorham) helped set the goal up by winning a header off a deflected clearing attempt by Merrimack. The ball was headed forward to Matt Lencioni (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester), who chipped a pass behind the Merrimack defense to Halliday to send him clear in on goal, and Halliday did the rest to beat keeper Tyler Packett from 10 yards out.
Merrimack got back in it with a goal from defender Mirko Nufi in the 74th minute Midfielder Lars Sund sent a long free kick into the six yard box, that Nufi was able to poke in the loose ball from close range.
With around 10 minutes to go, Price made another big stop with a diving save on a shot by Sund to preserve the lead. Bentley saw out the final minutes from then to secure the victory, to improve to 3-2-1 on the season and 1-2 NE10. Merrimack suffered its first loss of the season and is now 4-1 overall and 1-1 NE10.
Bentley will look to even its conference record next time out when they host Saint Rose on Saturday at 3:00 pm.