RINDGE — Something had to give Saturday night: Wilmington College’s high-flying offense or Franklin Pierce University’s vaulted defense.
The defense rests.
The Ravens, who have allowed just 12 goals all season, went up against their high-flying opponents from Delaware, who have scored 91, in the second round of the NCAA Division II Tournament game at Sodexo Field. After 90 minutes of soccer, before an impassioned home crowd, the Ravens advanced with a 1-0 victory in the Super Regional 1.
FPU, ranked 18th nationally in Division II, will move on to the third round against Post University, which upset the region’s to seed, Adelphi University, Saturday night, also 1-0. The Ravens are seeded fourth in the region and Post is No. 9.
The FPU-Post match will be played Thursday, Dec. 5, at 10 a.m., at Gannon University in Erie, Pa. No. 2 Gannon defeated No. 10 Assumption College Sunday afternoon, 5-0. No. 3 Charleston blanked Mercy Saturday, 5-0.
For the Ravens (14-3-2), it was their first NCAA tournament win since 2011. The Wildcats, who were seeded fifth, fell to 17-3-1.
It was a Spain connection that combined for FPU’s goal Saturday night, as Antonio Ferreira of Madrid scored on a counterattack in the 55th minute. Javier García Borrás of Alzira, Spain, streaked down the right sideline and perfectly placed a long through ball splitting two defenders in the process. Ferreira gathered the ball and sniped an attempt 20 yards out into the right side of the open cage.
García Borrás had a chance late in the second half to give the Ravens an insurance goal. The graduate midfielder dangled and dodged through the last line of the Wildcat defense in the 82nd minute and had a one-on-one with goalkeeper Gabriel Prgomet. But Prgomet stifled García Borrás to keep it a one-score game.
The heralded Raven defensive unit, which ranked 10th in Division II in goals-against average before the contest, held NCAA Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association (D2CAA) East Region Player of the Year to no production in the battle. Lorne Bickley entered the game pacing the nation in goals (26) along with goals per game (1.30), points (54) and points per game (2.70). The defense held Wilmington to 15 shots, four less than its national-leading 19.65 mark per game.
Raven senior goalkeeper Jadel Poon-Lewis remained undefeated on the year (7-0-0), collecting his fifth shutout 17th of his career. Poon-Lewis stopped a season-high six shots and saw his goals-against average dip to 0.27. With the shutout, Poon-Lewis moved into fifth place on the program’s all-time list, passing Jeff Burstein (1994-97).
Prgomet took the loss and fell to 17-3-1 on the year making eight saves in the defeat.