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The Franklin Pierce University men’s soccer team celebrates the NE10 regular season title after its win over American International College on Nov. 3 at Sodexo Field.

RINDGE — The Franklin Pierce men’s soccer team will face the winner of Lock Haven University and Post University in the second round of the NCAA Division II tournament, as announced Monday night.

Lock Haven and Post will play in Rindge on Thursday at 3 p.m. and Franklin Pierce will host the winner of that game on Saturday, also at 3 p.m.

The No. 4 nationally ranked Ravens come into the tournament as Northeast-10 conference champions. Franklin Pierce beat American International, 1-0, on Saturday to earn the conference championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. It marks Franklin Pierce’s first conference championship since 2011.

Franklin Pierce (19-1) earned a No. 1 seed in the Super Region 1 bracket and a first-round bye.

Lock Haven, the No. 8 seed in the 10-team Super Region 1 bracket, put together a 13-3-2 record, losing to Gannon in the semifinal round of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Tournament.

Post earned the No. 9 seed in the Super Region 1 bracket, coming in with a 12-5-1 record and a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) championship with an overtime win over Dominican College.

Franklin Pierce beat Post in the regular season, 2-1, in mid-September.

The Ravens and Lock Haven have not played each other this year.

“These are two really good teams,” said Franklin Pierce head coach Ruben Resendes. “We’ll have to prepare well and use the extra time to our advantage.

“We want our season to go on as long as possible,” Resendes said. “This Saturday’s game is the big one because you win and you play in December, which is always a good thing.”

The NCAA bracket is made up of four Super Region groups, comprised of 10 teams each. The winner of each region will represent the Final Four, playing in the national semifinals.

The national semifinals and the championship game will be played at Weidner Field in Colorado Springs, Colo.

This year’s NCAA tournament will be the first DII men’s soccer national tournament since 2019. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA did not host a DII tournament in 2020.

“It’s just a blessing to get the whole season in,” Resendes said. “We’re really excited to get back to normalcy again.”

Charleston (W.Va.) is the DII reigning champion, earning the 2019 title. Charleston is the No. 2 seed in the Super Region 1 bracket, opposite of Franklin Pierce.

The Ravens have outscored their opponents 53-8 this season and led the nation in goals against average (.397). Franklin Pierce shutout its opponents in 12 of its 20 games, postseason included.

Franklin Pierce last made the NCAA tournament in 2019, losing to the eventual champs, Charleston, in the Super Region 1 quarterfinal.

The Ravens last won the national title back in 2007 — its first in program history.

“The guys are really excited,” Resendes said. “It’s every college athlete’s dream to compete in the NCAA tournament.”

Chris Detwiler can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1411, or cdetwiler@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Detwiler.