Lirange leads field hockey team on a winning streak

Written by gavanguard on . Posted in Field Hockey, Sports, Women's Sports

lirange

By Russell Cloon

After losing three of the first four games of the season, the Bentley Field Hockey team is catching fire at just the right time.

“It feels great,” junior Rebecca Moore said. “We started off with a losing record and have moved on to a winning record that we plan to continue improving. Every game we are getting better.”

Moore is a captain alongside fellow junior Kelsey Howard and senior Gina Lirange, a seasoned veteran for the Falcons.

“I think our captains have been doing a great job leading the team,” head coach Jessica Spencer said. “Each player has improved since we arrived. Everyone has contributed to our success.”

The Falcons (5-3) have defeated Southern New Hampshire, St. Michael’s, Assumption and Mercy en route to their four-game winning streak. All victories have been at home for the Falcons, who hold a 5-1 record at home this season, with the only home loss coming against Stonehill, ranked fourth in the NFHCA Coaches poll.

“The four-game win streak has been exciting,” Lirange said. “They were all home games, so that was great to have our friends and family here so see a string of wins.”

Lirange, who serves as a second-year captain for the Falcons, is the only senior on the team.

“The interesting part about my experience on the Bentley Field Hockey team is that I have been the only one in my grade since I came in as a freshman,” Lirange said, “so now I am the lone senior on the team.”

Lirange says the experience has prepared her well since she took the reign as a captain last season.

“Being a captain last year prepared me for the senior captain role and I learned so much from the seniors last year. My co-captains this year have been great partners so far this season. Even aside from the captains, the whole team is full of natural leaders who consistently add value and step up during games and practices.”

Spencer says that Lirange provides a special kind of leadership to the team.

“Gina leads by example on and off the field. She works very had throughout the year on her game and holds the team to a high standard. She has been an impact player for us since she arrive as a freshman and she can be a game changer with her speed and skill.”

Lirange has played all eight games for the Falcons and leads the team in shots (38), offensive points (15) and goals (6). The senior forward has become a crucial part of the team’s offense that has produced 25 goals or an average of over three goals per game.

“Being my senior year, my last ever season in a collegiate sport, this season is so important to me,” Lirange said. “I have pretty hefty goals and expectations that I truly believe this team is capable of achieving.”

So far this season, the Falcons have faced three top-ten opponents, West Chester, Stonehill and Merrimack who represent all three marks in the Falcons losing column.

However, the tough schedule has given the Falcons the chance to compare themselves to the best and has provided some of the best moments of the season.

“Our first goal of the season was by freshman Taylor Kane during the West Chester game,” Moore said. “Twelve minutes into the game, she got the ball at the top and whipped out an aerial shot that landed in the back of the net. We were all screaming. It was such a great moment for her and the rest of us.”

Howard said the tough road has made the Falcons stronger and has played a component in the Falcons’ present success.

“I think that we have really improved throughout the season. At the beginning of the season, we were definitely struggling with scoring as we lost two games four to nothing. However, we have changed things up since and I believe that it has made us stronger and you can definitely see the changes as we have done a lot more scoring since.”

Ball movement was part of the Falcons game that Howard said has especially improved.

“Recently, we have really improved our passing game as well as we are using each other up the field to move the ball faster to our opponent’s goal. This makes us a harder team to defend and definitely more of a offensive threat.”

The new improvements showed over the weekend as the Falcons defeated Assumption 3-2 and routed Mercy 5-0. Lirange scored for the Falcons against Assumption on Friday, along with juniors Sally James and Meghan Talerman.

“Assumption was a hard fought win,” Spencer said. “We lost focus for a few minutes in the game and it almost got away from us. However, we regained composure and finished the game.”

Against Mercy, the junior class, who provided all five goals for the Falcons, carried the Falcons. James, Talerman and Howard scored for the Falcons, along with Savannah Febesh and Leah Winer.

The Mavericks, however, frustrated the Falcons in the first-half and held the Falcons to only two goals. Bentley eventually broke through in the second-half and finished the game with 32 shots, 19 of which were on goal.

Mercy was not our best effort in the first-half,” Spencer said. “But we did find some energy in the second-half and finished the game on a high note.”

If the Falcons were in need of a test on how far they have come, they will receive it this weekend, when the Falcons battle in a rematch against Stonehill.

“We are expecting a strong game against Stonehill,” Howard said. “They are a great opponent and are definitely one of the games that you always look forward to because you know it is going to be a good one. I look forward to playing them again and I feel like we are playing them as a whole new team.”

The rematch begins at 12 p.m. Oct. 11 at the Bentley University Turf Field.

Lady Falcons suffer dissapointing loss to Pace, 5-1

Written by gavanguard on . Posted in Soccer, Sports, Women's Sports

lady falcons

By Joseph Greeley

The women’s soccer team was looking to end a seven-game losing streak on Saturday as they took on Pace University in New York. The Falcons have played some extremely close games this year so far, including a 1-0 overtime loss against Saint Anselm, as well as a double overtime loss to Le Moyne with the same score line. The team looked to turn their fortunes around Saturday and get some momentum for the second half of the season.

Disappointingly, their efforts were nullified, as the Falcons were unable to solve the Pace Settlers’ duo of Alyssa Zeoli and Jillian Ferro. Zeoli found the back of the net four times, with three coming from through balls by Ferro. Ferro first found Zeoli in the twelfth minute when Zeoli beat Bentley goalkeeper Deirdre Macrorie to the ball. The second goal came in the twenty-third minute, when Zeoli beat Macrorie from the top of the eighteen off a pass from Ferro.

The Falcons got one back in the fifty-fourth minute when sophomore forward Ana Tantum found the loose ball in the box and snuck it pass Pace’s goalie, Aisha Chaunhan, to score her team-leading third goal of the season. Bentley’s momentum was short lived as Zeoli scored two more goals in the next ten minutes. The first, for the hat-trick, came off a Stephanie Savino free kick where Zeoli headed it into the lower left corner. Zeoli’s fourth and final goal of the day came off another through ball from Ferro that split two Bentley defenders and was slid home. The Settlers added another goal in the eighty-seventh minute as Meghan Haslett dribbled and created space to the left of the box and beat Macrorie. The unassisted goal was the first of the season for Haslett.

The 5-1 loss was the worst for the lady Falcons on the season and leaves them a disappointing 0-7 in conference play. Their record could be expected as the team is coming off a frustrating 2-12-2 record last season and playing with a team mostly made up of freshman and sophomores. Freshman goalie Deirdre Macrorie and sophomore forward Ana Tantum have been bright spots for the team, who must improve upon their five total goals on the season.

Their next game is away against Southern New Hampshire on October 7 at 7:00 pm.

Haas & Brennen lead Falcons

Written by gavanguard on . Posted in Cross Country, Cross Country, Men's Sports, Sports, Women's Sports

haas

By Cameron Estelle

Louisville, Ky. – The men’s and women’s cross country teams packed up their bags this weekend and headed down to the Bluegrass State to compete in the Greater Louisville Classic at the E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park on Saturday. Sophomore Nik Haas and junior Sarah Brennan were the top finishers for the men’s team and the women’s team, respectively.

On the men’s side, Haas finished the 8,000 meter course in 26:09.97, placing him 99 overall in a field of 356 runners. Haas continues to be a force on this young Bentley team comprised of mostly freshmen and sophomores. At the U-Mass Dartmouth Invitational earlier in the season, Haas finished 14 overall, making him the top finisher for Bentley in both races that he has run in this year.

The youthful Bentley team is making obvious strides with their young talent, with four of the top five runners on Saturday being sophomores. Not only are they young, but the Falcons are improving with every race. Cullen McHale and Rupak Mehta, both sophomores, each posted career-best times for the 8,000 meter race. McHale posted a time of 26:33.38 and finished 148 overall and Mehta finished at 184 with a time of 26:50.37. Coming in fourth of Bentley’s top five was junior David Cooper, who finished just ahead of Mehta at 183 with a time of 26:48.98. Sophomore Eric Alatalo rounded out the top five for Bentley, with a 222 place finish and a time of 27:17.33. Alatalo is another example of the strong, young core of Bentley runners. Overall, Bentley finished 33 of 42 teams. They were running against stiff competition that included three Division I teams and three Division II top 25 teams.

In the women’s races, junior Sarah Brennan was the top runner for Bentley, finishing 91 in a field of 351 runners. Sarah beat her career-best time for the 5,000 meter with an impressive time of 19:15.46. But like all athletes, Sarah is always looking to improve:

“Ideally I am looking to break 19 minutes this season,” Sarah said. This personal best run came on Sarah’s season debut. According to Coach Kevin Curtin, “Sarah missed some time over the summer so she got a late start on her training…Her return is definitely a huge boost to the team as we head into championship season.”

When asked about any nerves that she may have had while running, Sarah expressed that there are always nerves, but finally being able to run again helped to put the butterflies to rest. Junior Samantha Albanses and sophomore Julia Morena also ran in the top 250: Samantha at 246 with a time of 20:34.95 and Julia at 250 with a time of 20:38.67. Overall, the Bentley women finished 36 of 37 teams in the Blue Division. Similar to the men’s race, the women had an extremely talented field, with 11 Division I teams and two Division II top 25 teams.

Coach Curtin is very aware of the talent of both the men’s and women’s opponents, but “felt it would be a good idea to expose them to that level of competition and get a feel of what goes on at those types of meets.”

Curtin knew that the travel would have an effect on the runners and that competing at a high level after the trip is a skill that needs to be developed in order to be a more competitive runner. Curtin thought that most people dealt with these challenges relatively well, even though the team’s flight from Logan was cancelled, leading to a mad scramble to make boarding-time on another flight. In hindsight, running to catch a flight for a cross country team should physically not be an issue.

As far as their placement in the standings, Curtin said that where they finished is indicative of where the team is and that “both teams are probably a year away from being capable of qualifying for NCAAs.”

He knew that going to a bigger meet and exposing the runners to bigger teams would help his teams push themselves and be better in the future. Sarah Brennan loved the atmosphere in Louisville and the increased competition was of no concern to her. “It was a fun experience overall. It was great to be able to compete with teams that we don’t typically have the chance to compete with and get a sense of the talent that is out there. It makes us realize what we’re up against nationally, as opposed to just regionally, which is important to us to be aware of in order to position ourselves better as a team.”

The Falcons will be at Franklin Park on Saturday the 11 for the New England Championships.

Men’s Soccer rebounds from consecutive losses

Written by gavanguard on . Posted in Men's Sports, Soccer, Sports

men soccer

By Samantha Morrissey

In Friday’s game versus Assumption, the Falcons (3-6-1) reversed their streak of consecutive losses and came out of the day with a victory. The Falcons were determined to settle for nothing less than a shut out to secure this victory and refused to allow a single goal on the part of Assumption.

Thanks to the efforts of each team’s goalies, Bentley’s Jack Blatchford, Junior, and Assumption’s Dana King, the second half of the game was scoreless, but heavy in attempts. Fortunately, the Falcons came out of the match with a 1-0 triumph. Bentley managed to maintain their 1-0 status even with a total of eight shots by Assumption and eleven by Bentley, the majority of which happened in the second half.

Bentley’s winning point, the only goal of the game, was scored in the middle of the first half of the game. Junior Nick Hoffman was the Falcons’ hero in scoring his first goal of this season, assisted by Junior Marty Ryan. Though the number of fouls and corner kicks provided both teams with ample opportunity to get more points on the board, neither team could find a hole in the net in the second half. The second half of the game was riddled with saves as neither goalie let a ball past him.

As it frequently happens in sports of all variety, both teams came out of halftime with new purpose and the second half was more physical and intense; as seen in the increased number of penalties and shots. The physical gameplay resulted in scores of players lying on their backs after a play, either trying to momentarily recover from exhaustion, anger, pain or perhaps any combination thereof.

Even with a dip in attendance, perhaps due to the frigid temperatures, the Falcons managed to rally together to come out with a win. Hopefully, the Falcons will be able to use this victory to fuel their spirits and establish a winning streak. They are playing their next opponent on Wednesday, October 8 versus St. Michael’s. Maybe after this victory over Assumption their crowds will get bigger, even with the cold weather just around the corner.

If the Falcons can continue winning games, their attendance should soar, especially if they can maintain these shut out victories with a degree of physicality that spices up the game a little bit more.