Ruben Resendes

Ruben Resendes, Franklin Pierce coach

It will be an early wakeup call for the Franklin Pierce University men’s soccer team Thursday in Erie, Pa.

But the Ravens, under first-year Coach Ruben Resendes, will need to hit the ground running.

They have reached the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Division II men’s soccer tournament, and face Post University of Waterbury, Conn., Thursday at 10 a.m. at McConnell Stadium on the campus of Gannon University. The host team will play Charleston (West Virginia) at 1 p.m. and the winners of those two matches will meet Saturday.

The tournament is divided into four 10-team regions, and the Ravens (14-3-2) are the fourth seed in Super Regional I. Post (16-3-3), the No. 9 seed, has pulled off two upsets to reach the round of 16. The Eagles knocked off the region’s No. 1 seed, Adelphi University, 1-0, on Nov. 23. That gave No. 2 Gannon the right to host the region’s semifinals and final.

Six matches around the country will be played Thursday and another two Friday. Lynn University of Boca Raton, Fla., was the only top seed to escape the early rounds.

After receiving a first-round bye, Franklin Pierce advanced by defeating Wilmington (Del.) at Sodexo Field in Rindge on Nov. 23, 1-0. Antonio Ferreira scored the only goal of that match, on an assist from Javier Garcia Borras, in the 55th minute. A junior from Madrid, Spain, Ferreira has seven goals on the season.

The Ravens have gotten balanced scoring all year, as Stefan Lohberger leads the way with nine goals, while Yannik Felber and Ferreira each have seven. Borras has five, and a total of 14 players have accounted for the 43 goals FPU scored this season.

Graduate student Clay Thomas and Jadel Poon-Lewis have split the goaltending duties this year.

For Post, sophomore Phillimon Bedard-Khalid scored the only goal in the Adelphi match, and goalkeeper David Mollenthiel, a sophomore, was stellar in net, stopping 10 shots. The Sweet Sixteen is the farthest Post has ever advanced in soccer; FPU won the national championship in 2007.

“Today’s win and advancing into the Sweet Sixteen puts our program at another level,” Post Coach Ted Haley said after the Adelphi match. “I can’t express how proud I am of our resilience, quality football, and belief. The guys are amazing and I am a lucky man and coach to be around them. We are more unified than ever and we can’t wait for our next adventure together.