Bentley faced a 9-6 deficit in the fifth before closing out the match with a 9-3 spurt to prevail 15-12. Merrimack took the opening two sets by identical counts of 25-20, the Falcons bounced back to take the third 25-21 and picked up the final two points for a 26-24 win in the fourth.
The win lifted Bentley into a tie for first in the conference with New Haven, both with 5-0 NE-10 records, and boosted the Falcons to 11-6 overall. Merrimack slipped to 7-10 overall and 2-2 in the NE-10 after its second five-set loss to Bentley this season, the first being non-conference early last month.
Junior outside hitter Tatiana Froehlich (Newton/Newton North HS) was instrumental in the fifth-set comeback, providing a block to tie the set at 11, a kill to make it 12-12 and an ace to put the Falcons up 14-12. An attack error by Merrimack closed out the match.
Froehlich also had a hand in the fourth set victory. She had a kill to put Bentley up 24-23, and after a Warrior kill evened the score, she had another to put the Falcons in front for good, 25-24. A setting error by Merrimack accounted for the set-clinching point.
Junior middle hitter Savannah Dominguez (Miami, Fla./Palmer Trinity HS), had another strong outing for the Falcons as she hit .333 with 16 kills and also provided five blocks and five digs. During the final four sets, she hit .429 with only two errors.
Froehlich finished with 13 kills and 15 digs for her second double-double, both of which have come against the Warriors, and also had three aces. She was one of four Bentley players to reach double-digits in digs, with junior libero Lauren Colasanti (Northville, Mich./Northville HS) leading the team in that category with 16.
Junior setter Alex Tator (Los Angeles, Calif./Marlborough School) provided the assist on 46 of Bentley's 52 kills and also recorded nine digs and two aces.
Merrimack was led by Stephanie Sheehan (24 kills), Tara Stuhr (54 assists) and Jennifer Cain (24 digs).
The come-from-behind win was achieved with assistant coach Joey Pacis, a former Merrimack head coach, filling in for longtime Bentley mentor Sandy Hoffman, who was unable to attend.
Bentley, which was playing its first match in ten days, will have the next six days off before hosting Southern New Hampshire next Tuesday evening.