ERIE, Pa. — Playing a man down for most of the match, Franklin Pierce University fell one win shy of reaching the NCAA Division II men’s soccer Final Four Saturday, losing 2-0 to Charleston at Gannon University.
The Golden Eagles, of West Virginia, scored a pair of second-half goals to end the Ravens’ season in the title game of the Super 1 Region at McConnell Family Stadium.
Charleston, 20-2-1 and ranked 10th nationally, will advance to the national semifinals Thursday at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh. It will play Lynn University, which knocked off Wingate 3-0 Saturday. The Golden Eagles are seeking their second national championship in three years; they beat Lynn in the national final in 2017. FPU, ranked 18th nationally, sees its season end with a 15-4-2 mark.
Making the start in net, FPU senior Jadel Poon-Lewis made four saves including some impressive stops as he completed his final season with a 7-1-1 record. Charleston netminder Alvaro Dean turned away three shots in the victory as he remained undefeated (15-0-1).
The contest was physical throughout with 32 fouls called, nine yellow cards issued and one red card ejection given to FPU. Seven of the nine yellows were shown to the Ravens, and key performer Antonio Ferreira was shown a red card in the 29th minute. The Ravens hung in there with only 10 men playing the final 71 minutes, and even produced an even shot total (4-4) and corner kick chances (3-3) in the first half.
However, Charleston wore down the Ravens and outshot them 6-1 in the second half and had a 4-1 advantage in corner kicks.
FPU’s best two chances came in the 26th minute. Before he was ejected, Ferreira lined a shot to the right of the cage that Dean sprawled out to make a big-time save to keep the game scoreless. Seconds later, junior midfielder Josep Silvestre Pitarch grabbed a loose ball and put a shot on net that was again turned away by Dean. FPU also had a few counterattack opportunities that were swarmed and footed out of danger by the Charleston defense.
In the 61st minute, Poon-Lewis kept the match deadlocked 0-0 when he dove to his left and fully extended to rob Ploutarcho Alonefti of a goal. But eight minutes later, Ettore Ballestracci found Freddy Tracey for the opening score, a chip from just inside the box into the lower part of the net.
Only four more minutes passed before Christos Charalambous lofted a corner from the right side into the box that was headed home by Williams N’Dah for the insurance tally.
FPU’s only shot in the second half came in the 84th minute, a rope by junior defender Cristobal Andreu that was corralled by Dean.