RINDGE, N.H. (September 12, 2017) – In the final leg of a stretch of three games in five days, the Franklin Pierce University field hockey team controlled the first half against Bentley on Tuesday night, but appeared to begin to flag as the game moved into the second half. The Ravens, who led 1-0 at halftime, surrendered the tying goal in the 57th minute, but then refused to fold. Senior forward Carly Canavan (Kingston, N.Y.) answered just 49 seconds later with a goal which visibly buoyed the team's spirits, and the crimson and grey went on to a 2-1 win in the non-conference tilt at Sodexo Field.
With the win, Franklin Pierce improves to 3-2 and has already equaled last season's win total. With the loss, Bentley remains winless on the year at 0-4.
Franklin Pierce controlled much of the run of play in the first half, to the tune of advantages of 9-4 in shot attempts, 6-3 in shots on goal and 3-1 in penalty corners. Things leveled out in the second half, but the Ravens still finished with advantages in all three categories, by margins of 13-8, 10-5 and 5-2, respectively.
The Ravens used the first-half control to jump out to an early lead, as they got on the board in the ninth minute. Freshman back Nicole McDowell (Yarmouth, Maine) chased down a loose ball outside the circle on the right-wing side. She sent a feed into the middle, which senior midfielder Erin Smith (Templeton, Mass.) tracked down while moving to her left. Smith reversed her stick and flipped a shot back against traffic, which beat Bentley junior goalkeeper Jana Mones and slipped inside the right post. It was Smith's first goal of the season, and her first goal since Oct. 27, 2015, during her sophomore campaign.
On the other side of halftime, Bentley got things evened at 1-1 with a goal in the 57th minute. Sophomore forward Sam Pavano sent a long drive into the circle from the left side of the midfield. The ball was headed wide right of the cage, but was also running out of steam as it approached the end line, so senior goalkeeper Meaghan Williams (Salem, N.H.) came off her line to attempt to clear the ball from danger. However, she partially fanned on her kick attempt, and was then beaten to the ball by the stick of Bentley junior forward Mikayla Ullrich, who poked the ball past Williams and towards the vacated goal. Sophomore forward Keally Ingersoll was on the scene in the goalmouth and swept the ball across the goal line to tie the game.
Head coach Zoe Adkins called her timeout after the goal, and her team immediately responded. Less than a minute later, sophomore midfielder Jessica Greeley (Winslow, Maine) fired the ball toward the goal from well outside the circle on the right side of midfield. Canavan got her stick to the drive and deflected a shot on goal, which was saved by Mones. However, the ball fell to Mones' left, and Canavan was able to dive to get her stick to the ball again before the keeper could react. Canavan wound up on the ground, the ball wound up in the cage and the Ravens wound up with a 2-1 lead, which would be the margin of victory.
Bentley mounted one final charge towards the goal in the final minute. With the ball on the right side, a Bentley forward eluded the tackle of sophomore midfielder Jessica Strassburg (Longmeadow, Mass.) and pushed into the circle. Back-checking junior midfielder Sarah Bjorn (Holden, Mass.) was quick to the scene though, forced a turnover and cleared the ball away to preserve the lead. It would be the final threat of the night for the Falcons.
Williams (3-2) finished with four saves against five shots on goal to pick up the win in net for Franklin Pierce. Mones (0-4) stopped eight of 10 shots on her cage and suffered the loss.
The Ravens return to the field on Saturday, Sept. 16, when they travel to Southern Connecticut State to open the Northeast-10 Conference portion of their schedule. Game time is set for 1 p.m. at Jess Dow Field in New Haven, Conn.
For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu). Also be sure to follow the Ravens through the Department of Athletics' official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens), its YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/franklinpiercesports) and its Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/FPUathletics). Fans wishing to purchase Franklin Pierce field hockey apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' online store (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu/store).