Ravens earn ninth-straight trip to NCAA Tournament; 17th overall in program history
RINDGE, N.H. (November 7, 2011) -- The No. 2 nationally ranked Franklin Pierce University men's soccer team, fresh off winning the Northeast-10 Conference Championship, was selected for the 2011 NCAA Division II Tournament on Monday night and will be the top seed in Super Region 1. The Ravens will have a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the regional with the winner advancing to the Division II Final Four, which will be held on Dec. 1 & 3 at the Ashton Brosnaham Soccer Complex on the campus of the University of West Florida in Pensacola.
Franklin Pierce University will host the first and second rounds this weekend at Sodexo Field in Rindge. The first round will be held on Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. between fourth-seeded New York Tech (ECC Champions, 14-3-2) and the fifth-seeded St. Thomas Aquinas (ECC, 10-3-4). The winner of that match will face the top-seeded Ravens on Saturday night at 7 p.m. in Sodexo Field.
Tickets are $8 for adults, $4 for students/senior citizens and $1 for children (ages 2-12). Children under two years of age will be admitted free if accompanied by a paying adult. The first 75 Franklin Pierce students who show their college ID at the gate prior to Saturday night's contest featuring the Ravens will have the cost of their ticket paid for, courtesy of the Department of Athletics.
Joining Franklin Pierce as the other host school in the regional is second-seeded Southern New Hampshire (Northeast-10, 17-3). The Penmen will also receive a first-round bye and will face the winner of Friday's first round match between third-seeded C.W. Post (ECC, 16-2-1) and sixth-seeded Nyack (CACC Champions, 13-5-2). The SNHU sub-regional will be held in Manchester and the second-round match featuring the Penmen will be held on Sunday.
The winners of this weekend's Super Region 1 sub-regionals will play in the national quarterfinals next weekend at the site of the highest remaining seed. The winner of that match will advance to the national semifinals in Pensacola, Fla. If Franklin Pierce were to advance past the second round this weekend, the Ravens would play host to next weekend's quarterfinal match-up in Sodexo Field.
Franklin Pierce is making its ninth-consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division II Tournament and its 17th overall in program history. The Ravens captured their first national championship in 2007 with a 1-0 win over Lincoln Memorial in the national final in Orange Beach, Ala. Franklin Pierce has won its regional in three of the last seven seasons and has appeared in the national title match twice in the last six years.
The Ravens enter this year's national tournament unbeaten with a 19-0-1 record, including capturing the Northeast-10 Conference regular season and tournament championships. It marked the second-straight season Franklin Pierce swept the conference titles.
Franklin Pierce's run to the NE-10 title this season included posting shutout victories in all three tournament matches, including a 1-0 win over 12th ranked Southern New Hampshire in the conference final on Sunday. Junior back Tyler Rosa (Rehoboth, Mass.) helped to anchor a Franklin Pierce defensive unit which limited the opposition to a combined 10 shots in the semifinals and finals. For his efforts Rosa was named the NE-10 championship's most outstanding player.
Two other Ravens found their way onto the all-championship team, including senior midfielder Paul Latif (Newcastle, England), who struck home the match-winning goal against SNHU in the finals. It was Latif's third of the season and all three of his tallies have been match-winners. Graduate back Daniel Donaldson (Moenchengladbach, Germany) was also named to the championship squad after scoring three goals in the opening two matches, including putting in a pair in the 4-0 triumph over Stonehill in the quarterfinals. Donaldson also helped to anchor Franklin Pierce's sterling defensive efforts in the conference tournament.
Franklin Pierce's impressive post-season run came after an equally strong regular season. The Ravens posted an unbeaten regular season record for just the second time in program history and for the first time since the 1995 campaign. Franklin Pierce's 19 wins this season is tied for the most in a single season in program history, joining the 1991 squad which posted the same total on the way to the Final Four that year. The Ravens current string of 20-consecutive matches without a loss is also the longest in program history.
Franklin Pierce had several amazing individual performances this season, including a trio of players who garnered major awards from the Northeast-10. Senior midfielder Diego Tabares (Seekonk, Mass.) was named the NE-10 Player of the Year after ranking among the league leaders in goals, points and shots, while senior back Tom Reilly (Wallasey, England) nabbed the league's defensive player-of-the-year accolade after anchoring one of the top defensive units in the country. Classmate Vinny Papageorgiou (Wilmington, Mass.) was honored as the conference goalkeeper of the year after posting nine regular season shutouts and having a goals against average well below 1.0 a contest.
Several other Ravens earned all-conference honors, including: senior forward Victor Goncalves (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), who was named to the first-team; Latif, who was named to the second-team; Donaldson, who was named to the second-team; freshman midfielder Tom Wampler (Attleboro, Mass.), who was named to the second-team and all-rookie team; Rosa, who was named to the third-team; and freshman back Trent Roy (Stratham, N.H.), who was named to the all-rookie team.
For more information on Franklin Pierce men's soccer, please visit the team's page at athletics.franklinpierce.edu(.) To follow the program even further, please visit Franklin Pierce Athletics on YouTube (www.youtube.com/FranklinPierceSports), Twitter (www.twitter.com/FPUathletics) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceAthletics).
2011 NCAA DIVISION II MEN'S SOCCER TOURNAMENT SUPER REGION 1
#4 NYIT (ECC Champions, 14-3-2) vs. #5 St. Thomas Aquinas (ECC, 10-3-4), Thursday, Nov. 10, 4 p.m. (Sodexo Field, Rindge, N.H.)
#3 C.W. Post (ECC, 16-2-1) vs. #6 Nyack (CACC Champions, 13-5-2), Friday, Nov. 11, 4 p.m. (Larkin Field, Manchester, N.H.)
NYIT/STA winner vs. #1 Franklin Pierce (NE-10 Champions, 19-0-1), Saturday, Nov. 12, 7 p.m. (Sodexo Field, Rindge, N.H.)
CWP/Nyack winner vs. #2 Southern New Hampshire (NE-10, 17-3), Sunday, Nov. 13, 1 p.m. (Larkin Field, Rindge, N.H.)
Super Region 1 Final (National Quarterfinals), Saturday, Nov. 19 or Sunday, Nov. 20
FPU/NYIT/STA winner vs. SNHU/CWP/Nyack winner (at site of highest remaining seed)