ERIE, Pa. — The Franklin Pierce University men’s soccer team advanced to the Super I Region final with a dramatic 2-1, double-overtime victory over Post University of Waterbury, Conn., playing on a frozen field in Erie, Pa., with snow recently plowed off the turf.
Nationally, it means the Ravens have advanced to the Elite Eight in Division II, as four regional tournaments are being contested around the country. It's their first trip to the Elite Eight since 2011.
The match was played Thursday morning at Gannon University’s McConnell Family Stadium, which is hosting the semifinals and final of the 10-team region.
FPU, the region’s fourth seed, will play No. 3 Charleston (West Virginia) in the final Saturday at 2 p.m. in Erie. Charleston upended No. 2 Gannon 3-0 Thursday afternoon.
Javier Garcia Borras scored the game-winner — the golden goal — for the Ravens on a penalty kick with only 30 seconds left in the second overtime. Using his left foot, Borras tucked a low shot into the right corner as Post goalkeeper David Mollenthial dove in the opposite direction, trying to guess which way Borras would go. It set off a jubilant FPU celebration near the right corner-kick circle.
FPU was awarded the PK after a red card was shown to Eagles midfielder Eden Gendler, who attempted a slide tackle on senior midfielder Marc Forner in the Raven attacking end. In a story on the Post website, Eagles Coach Ted Haley said he didn't believe the red card or a PK was warranted.
"We were fantastic in this NCAA run. We deserve better from the officials and their judgment with 29 seconds left in a very good match," Haley said. "The red card and penalty kick is extremely unwarranted and disappointing. The match should have been decided by penalties. It is tough to explain to my seniors. We will be back."
Had the match finished 1-1 after the second overtime, it would have been decided by penalty kicks.
The Ravens cracked the scoring column 13 minutes into the game. García Borrás started a counterattack at midfield, moving swiftly down the right sideline. He perfectly placed a long through ball to teammate Yannik Felber, who was confronted by a defender he couldn't shape. So Felber roped a long shot 30 yards out to the left of the goal past the diving Mollenthial for the game's first tally.
Three minutes later, the Eagles netted the equalizer as Gendler cleaned up a rebound off a blocked shot into the lower right corner of the cage.
Raven sophomore forward Isak Helgason had FPU's only other shot in the first half on a breakaway, but the ball slid just wide. Post outshot FPU 8-2 in the first half. Overall, Post held a 17-12 shots on goal advantage and 7-6 in corner kicks.
FPU goalkeeper Clay Thomas stopped a season-best six shots in improving his record to 8-3-2. Mollenthial made five saves for Post.
Both teams had their chances to score additional goals in regulation. Mollenthial made a diving stop on an Antonio Ferreira shot in the 67th minute, and stopped a García Borrás free kick about a minute later.