RINDGE, N.H. (October 1, 2019) – With a chance to put together a three-game winning streak, and with an opponent which was picked to finish dead last in the Northeast-10 Conference, the offense of the Franklin Pierce University field hockey team sputtered to a halt on Tuesday afternoon at Sodexo Field. The Ravens held their own statistically, but could do nothing to solve St. Thomas Aquinas junior goalkeeper Suzanne Clarke -- and rarely seriously threatened her cage -- as the visiting Spartans picked up a 2-0 victory. Freshman midfielder Lisa Larsson and junior forward Jade Hall provided first-half goals for STAC.
With the loss, Franklin Pierce falls to 4-5 (3-2 NE10), while St. Thomas Aquinas improves to 4-5 (2-3 NE10). For STAC -- which is in its fifth season as a program -- it marked the first ever win over Franklin Pierce in three tries.
The Spartans got things started early on Tuesday, as Larsson struck in just the seventh minute. With play in the right-wing side of the circle, one of Larsson's teammates attempted to push the ball towards the goal, but it was sent back by the Franklin Pierce defense. The ball came right to the stick of Larsson though, who was approximately 10 yards in front of the right post. She sent a quick shot through traffic from there, and the ball got to the back of the cage for her team-leading fifth goal of the season.
STAC added a second goal in the 20th minute, which would ultimately wind up capping the scoring and creating the 2-0 final. It was a second-chance opportunity which doubled the lead for the Spartans, as Hall banged home a rebound in front of the right post for her second goal of the campaign.
Franklin Pierce's two best chances of the afternoon both came on corner opportunities. In the 24th minute, back-to-back shots in quick succession almost got the Ravens on the board. Off of a broken corner play, sophomore back Julianne Sacco (Southborough, Mass.) eventually uncorked a shot from the middle of the circle, which was saved by Clarke. Sophomore forward Feline van Doorn (Barendrecht, Netherlands) tracked down the rebound and got her follow-up opportunity past the goalkeeper, but senior back Taylor Hickey was there at the right post to keep it out of the cage.
On the other side of halftime, in the 37th minute, Sacco sent a corner insertion to the top of the circle for senior midfielder Allison Collins (Sandown, N.H.) who had a shooting lane and let a drive fly from there. Clarke was equal to the shot though, as she kicked it away to keep the Ravens scoreless.
Junior goalkeeper Olivia Barnes (Greenwich, N.Y.) finished with three saves against five shots and suffered the loss (4-5) in front of the Franklin Pierce net. Clarke (3-5) stopped all five shots she faced, and got help with the defensive save from Hickey, to pick up her first shutout of the season, and the third of her career.
The Ravens return to the field on Friday, Oct. 4, when they travel to Assumption for an NE10 contest. Game time is set for 4 p.m. at Multi-Sport Stadium in Worcester, Mass.
For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (https://www.fpuravens.com). Also be sure to follow the Ravens through the Department of Athletics' official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens), its YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/franklinpiercesports) and its Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/FPUathletics). Fans wishing to purchase Franklin Pierce field hockey apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' brand new online store (https://www.shopfpuravens.com).