WALTHAM, Mass. (September 25, 2019) – A first half penalty-stroke save by junior goalkeeper Olivia Barnes (Greenwich, N.Y.) loomed large on Tuesday night, as the Franklin Pierce University field hockey team put together a one-goal win on the road at Northeast-10 Conference foe Bentley. Sophomore back Julianne Sacco (Southborough, Mass.), freshman midfielder Demi Sahuleka (Dieren, Netherlands) and sophomore forward Feline van Doorn (Barendrecht, Netherlands) found the net for the Ravens in the 3-2 victory.
With the win, Franklin Pierce improves to 3-4 (2-1 NE10), while Bentley falls to 3-3 (2-2 NE10).
Franklin Pierce struck first in what could very well be a pivotal conference contest come the end of the season. Off of a corner in the ninth minute, senior midfielder Ally Collins (Sandown, N.H.) took the injection at the top of the circle and dished it off to the left-wing side for senior forward Jessica Greeley (Winslow, Maine). Greeley let a shot fly from there and Sacco -- who had inserted the ball and then cut out in front of the net -- tipped the ball en route to deflect it past Bentley sophomore goalkeeper Kayleigh Vogel for her third goal of the season.
The early lead came under threat in the 18th minute, when a scramble in front of the Franklin Pierce net after a corner attempt led to Bentley being awarded a penalty stroke. Junior back Sam Simione took the stroke for the Falcons and set her sights on the left side of the net, but Barnes was equal to the task. Diving to her right, the keeper knocked the ball aside to keep the Ravens in front for the moment.
Bentley would eventually draw level with just under five minutes to play in the second quarter. In the 26th minute, Simione corralled a clearance attempt and sent a long service back into the circle from the left side of the midfield. Senior forward Tess Anderson was in the circle, about 10 yards in front of and outside the left post, made a one-time attempt on the long pass and swept her fourth of the year into the cage.
The tie was short-lived, as Franklin Pierce reclaimed the lead just 94 seconds later -- this time for good -- in the 28th minute. Senior forward Madison Gagnon (Milford, N.H.) would not get credit for an assist on the goal, but did a lot of work to create the opportunity. She worked the ball into the circle and along the end line to the right side of the Bentley cage. Gagnon's attack on the goal would be turned aside by Vogel, but Sahuleka was able to track down the long rebound on the right side of the circle. Sahuleka maneuvered her way into space, found a shooting lane and buried a reverse-stick shot through traffic for her second goal of the season.
After a scoreless third frame, the Ravens added what would prove to be an important insurance marker just 25 seconds into the fourth quarter. Gagnon again did the heavy lifting, as she made a run with the ball down the right wing, carried into the circle and pushed to the end line. She eventually sent a centering pass into the goalmouth, where van Doorn got her stick to the ball and poked it home for her second goal of the year.
The van Doorn goal and the Barnes penalty-stroke save both stood as pivotal moments in the end, as Bentley would close the gap to just one goal with a strike off a penalty corner with just 35 seconds to play. Senior forward Sam Pavano teed up her shot from the top of the circle, and fellow senior forward Rachel Crowley tipped it home for her fifth of the season. The Falcons were left without enough time to mount any further challenges though, as Franklin Pierce chalked up the 3-2 victory.
Barnes (3-4) finished with six saves against eight shots on her cage to pick up the win in front of the Franklin Pierce net. Senior back Jessica Strassburg (Longmeadow, Mass.) picked up a defensive save along the way as well, on a second-quarter corner play. The defensive save was the 11th of her career, moving her into sole possession of second place all-time in program history, and just three behind the school record of 14, held by Kim Jaksina '12.
At the other end of the field, Vogel (3-3) made seven stops against 10 shots and suffered the loss for Bentley.
The Ravens return to the field on Saturday, Sept. 28, when they return home to host Molloy in an NE10 contest. Game time is set for 1 p.m. at Sodexo Field in Rindge.
For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (https://www.fpuravens.com). 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' brand new online store (https://www.shopfpuravens.com).