RINDGE — On a bitterly cold Wednesday evening at Sodexo Field, the No. 18 nationally ranked Franklin Pierce University men’s soccer team’s 2019 run in the Northeast-10 Conference Championship came to an abrupt end as they played to a 1-1 double-overtime tie before they were bettered 5-4 in penalty kicks by the six-seeded College of Saint Rose Golden Knights.
The tie sends Franklin Pierce to an overall 13-3-2 record and the Golden Knights to 10-5-4 on the season. The penalty-kick win, their second of the NE10 tourney, advances Saint Rose to their first-ever NE10 Championship game on Saturday at Assumption College, while the No. 5 regionally-ranked Ravens must wait to see if they will earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Division II Tournament to be announced on Monday at 6:30 p.m. on NCAA.com.
The 2019 season marks the first time since 2007 that neither a one or two seed advanced to the NE10 Championship game.
Both squads made the first four shootout attempts until Ravens junior forward Antonio Ferreira (Madrid, Spain) cranked one off the left goalpost. Golden Knights senior midfielder Niv Fogle blasted an attempt past a diving Jadel Poon-Lewis (Diego Martin, Trinidad and Tobago) for the championship game clincher.
FPU outshot Saint Rose 25-to-13 in the match including a 16-to-5 mark in the first stanza. The tide turned in overtime when the Golden Knights had a 2-to-1 shot edge. Neither team attempted a shot in the final 10 minutes of OT. Franklin Pierce also had six corner kicks to their counterpart’s three.
The Ravens cracked the scoring column for their lone goal in the 35th minute. Ferreira roped a pass through the legs of graduate student Stefan Lohberger (Schoellnach, Germany) that was corralled by Javier García Borrás (Alzira, Spain) who one-timed his shot attempt in the lower right part of the cage.
Franklin Pierce held the one-nil lead at the break, but Filippo Bellu blew past the Ravens defense on a counterattack and put home the match-tying goal in the 51st minute. In the 80th minute, a prime chance happened for the home squad as junior Yannik Felber (Vallendar, Germany) lifted a beautiful right to left cross toward Ferreira. Ferreira established possession and footed an attempt just wide of the mark sending the game into the extra periods.
Graduate student Clay Thomas (Franklin, Tenn.) (7-3-2) drew the start in the cage as he played all of regulation and OT, making three saves before being lifted for Poon-Lewis in the PK round. Gianni Carillo (2-1-3) stopped 10 shots for Saint Rose.