NE-10 QUARTERFINAL: #13 Bentley Holds Off #20 Women's Lacrosse Rally, 9-8

Sophomore Brianna Doherty sparked a five goal run that gave the Skyhawks a late lead with three goals of her own. (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)

Gillespie cages game winner with 1:32 remaining to turn back upset bid

WALTHAM, Mass. (May 4, 2016) – Sophomore Kathleen Gillespie's(Topsfield, Massachusetts/Masconomet Regional) second goal of the game with 1:32 remaining in regulation lifted third-seeded Bentley University, ranked 13th in this week's Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches' Association (IWLCA) Division II poll, to a 9-8 victory over sixth-seeded and No. 20-ranked Stonehill College in quarterfinal round action of the 2016 Northeast-10 Conference women's lacrosse tournament this afternoon.

Bentley (13-5, 10-3 NE-10), which has now won its last 11, advances to the NE-10 semifinal round where it will meet second-seeded and No. 2-ranked Le Moyne College (16-1, 12-1 NE-10) on Saturday. The Dolphins advanced with a 15-4 victory in their quarterfinal matchup with seventh-seeded American International College (9-9, 6-7 NE-10) today. Stonehill, which saw its streak of consecutive NE-10 semifinal appearances come to an end at a record 17 straight, wraps up its season with a 9-9 record overall, including 7-6 in NE-10 play, and is the only program to appear in all 18 NE-10 women's lacrosse tournaments.

Gillespie's game winner, assisted by senior Kelsey Howard (Scarborough, Maine/Scarborough), came just 1:15 after Stonehill senior Rebecca Matheson (Reading, Massachusetts/Reading Memorial) knotted the score for the third time in the second half with her 30th goal of the season with 2:47 remaining. Gillespie finished with two goals, converting her lone free-position shot attempt, two draw controls and a caused turnover for the Falcons. Junior Hannah Lindgren (Southborough, Massachusetts/Algonguin Regional) paced Bentley with two goals and an assist for three points, while collecting three ground balls and a caused turnover, while Howard dished out two assists and added two draws.

Junior Ciara Morley (Irvington, New York/Irvington) contributed a pair of goals for Bentley, while seniors Meredith Hart (Fairport, New York/Fairport) and Erin O'Connor (Longmeadow, Massachusetts/Longmeadow) each registered a goal and assist, with Hart also tallying four draws and two ground balls. Junior Lauren Ochs (Rochester, New York/Irondequoit) preserved the win with six saves, collecting two ground balls and a caused turnover.

Bentley posted a 31-18 advantage for shots in the matchup, while recording an 11-8 edge in draw controls. Turnovers were even at eight apiece, with the Falcons converting 9-of-10 clear attempts, compared to 7-of-10 for Stonehill. Sophomore Kaitlyn Hess (Guilderland, New York/Guilderland) made six of her career-high matching ten saves in the first half to keep the Skyhawks in the game before its second half comeback, chipping in three ground balls and two caused turnovers.

Senior Rebecca Matheson surpassed 100 career points in today's game. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Sophomore Brianna Doherty (Walpole, Massachusetts/Walpole) scored all three of her goals in the second half to spark Stonehill's comeback from a four goal deficit, adding two ground balls and two draw controls. Matheson and senior Caitlin Sweeney (Hollis, New Hampshire/Hollis-Brookline) each contributed two goals and an assist for three points, with Matheson surpassing 100 career points, while junior Elizabeth Vetter (Great River, New York/East Islip) chipped in a goal and assist with three draws and a caused turnover.

Stonehill trailed by four (6-2) after junior Taylor Lunden (Agawam, Massachusetts/Agawam) opened the second half scoring four minutes in, assisted by Lindgren. The Skyhawks responded with a five goal run, including three markers from Doherty to take the lead with 15 minutes to play after two straight Doherty scores. Vetter sparked the run with a goal two minutes after Lunden's tally and then Doherty potted her first goal, assisted by Sweeney, a minute and a half after that to pull Stonehill within two with over 22-minutes remaining. Sweeney added a goal of her own with 18:21 on the clock and then Doherty scored the next two 2:05 apart to knot the score and then push the Skyhawks in front.

Gillespie and Lindgren halted the rally and put Bentley back in front with 8:49 remaining with a pair of free-position goals. Matheson knotted the score again with an unassisted goal with 2:47 left, but Gillespie's second provided the deciding goal with 1:32 to play and the Falcons won the ensuing draw and was able to maintain possession the rest of the way to seal the win.

Bentley, which scored the first seven goals of the regular season meeting between the two teams last month, scored the opening three today, including two by Morley, over the first ten minutes. Stonehill responded with back to back goals from Sweeney, on a free-position shot, and Matheson, assisted by Vetter, to draw back within a goal with 4:50 left in the half. Matheson's goal marked her 100th career point as she capped her career this afternoon with 102 points (79 goals, 23 assists) in 67 games.

O'Connor struck back just 30-seconds after the Matheson goal to restore Bentley's two goal lead and then Hart sent the Falcons into halftime with a three goal advantage, assisted by Howard, with 1:23 to play.

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