Franklin Pierce Men Set for NE-10 Tournament Battle at Southern New Hampshire

Granite State rivals open 2001 Northeast-10 Tournament play at Penmen Field

RINDGE, N.H. (October 29, 2001) - The Franklin Pierce (12-5, 8-5 NE-10) men's soccer team, ranked fifth in this week's National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/adidas Division II New England regional poll, has advanced to the Northeast-10 Conference Tournament and will face second-seeded and No. 23-ranked Southern New Hampshire University (13-3-1, 10-3 NE-10) on Tuesday, October 30, at 5 p.m.

The two Granite State rivals will square off at SNHU's Penmen Field for the second time this season. Southern New Hampshire won the regular season matchup in overtime, 2-1, on October 13, in Manchester.

SNHU grad student Mounir Tajiou netted both goals to lead the Penmen, who erased a 1-0 deficit after a penalty kick goal from Franklin Pierce senior Chris Schwarz (Babenhausen, Germany/Viktoria Aschaffenburg) in the 26th minute of play.

Tajiou scored the equalizer with a penalty kick goal with 1:10 remaining in the opening half, then tapped a cross from Mike Savastra into an empty Franklin Pierce net 9:31 into overtime.

"I feel like we lost it mentally in that game," said Franklin Pierce Head Coach Marco Koolman, who earned his 100th career victory with Saturday's 3-2 win over a regionally-ranked Le Moyne College squad. "The penalty kick just before halftime was a real back-breaker and I felt we never recovered from that in the second half."

Tomorrow will mark the first time the two school's have met in a Conference Tournament match since 1988, FPC's first Division II season, when the Penmen handed the Ravens a 5-2 loss in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Tournament.

In fact, the Penmen are 4-0 against Franklin Pierce all-time in postseason play. The last time the two squared off in the postseason was in 1998, when Southern New Hampshire posted a 4-1 NCAA Tournament victory.

"Having two accomplished programs on the national level play in the quarterfinal round shows that the Conference is getting stronger and stronger," said Koolman. "The days of 8-0 and 9-0 wins are over and you have to come prepared to each and every game if you want to win."

SNHU also leads the all-time series, 24-13-4, with Franklin Pierce's last win in the series coming with a 2-1 decision at Crystal Field last season.

The Ravens, who enter the Tournament as its No. 7 seed, are led by sophomore forward Bjorgolfer Takefusa (Reykjavik, Iceland/Vt.-Business) who ranks among the Northeast-10 leaders with 34 points and 16 goals (three gamewinners) to go along with two assists.

Junior tri-captainDavid McDermott (Merseyside, England/Saint Mary's) has totaled 24 points, aided by a Conference-leading ten assists to go along with seven goals. Schwarz has totaled 18 points (6 gls, 6 asts) and enters the Tournament ranked 11th on FPC's career scoring list with 65 points.

The Ravens have gotten solid goalkeeping down the stretch from sophomore Dominico Roma (Windsor, Ontario/Ste. Annes), who ranks among the Conference leaders with a 1.16 GAA and .705 save percentage with three shutouts in 11-straight starts.

Franklin Pierce looks to its defense as a key to victory, with opponents totaling three goals just twice this season (both losses), while sporting an 11-1 record this season when scoring two goals or more.

Tajiou leads New Southern New Hampshire, which enters tomorrow's match having won nine of its last ten matches, with 38 points on 16 goals (seven gamewinners) and six assists. Junior midfielder Cassio Ribiero has totaled 23 points (8 gls, 7 asts) with three gamewinning markers.

Grad student Tobias Svantesson backbones a talented Penmen defense in goal. He boasts a 0.82 GAA and .785 save percentage with seven shutouts this season.

"While both teams are excellent defensively I believe the match could be won in the midfield," said Koolman. "In games like this you need more than just defense to win."

The winner of tomorrow's match will advance to the NE-10 semifinals, hosted by Saint Anselm College, in Manchester, N.H. They will play the winner of tomorrow's quarterfinal match between sixth-seeded Bryant College and No. 3 Saint Anselm on Saturday.


Tuesday, October 30
NE-10 Quarterfinals
#6 Bryant College at #3 Saint Anselm College, 2 p.m.
#5 Le Moyne College at #4 UMass Lowell, 3:30 p.m.
#7 Franklin Pierce University
at #2 Southern New Hampshire University, 5 p.m.
#8 Assumption College at #1 Southern Connecticut State University, 7 p.m.

Saturday, November 3
NE-10 Semifinals, hosted by Saint Anselm College (Manchester, N.H.)
Bryant/Saint Anselm winner vs. Franklin Pierce/Southern N.H. winner, 11 a.m.
Le Moyne/UMass Lowell winner vs. Assumption/Southern Conn. winner, 1:30 p.m.

Sunday, November 4 NE-10 Championship, hosted by Saint Anselm College
(Manchester, N.H.)

Semifinal winners, 1 p.m