Nicholas Schibly scores match-winner in the 49th minute
RINDGE, N.H. (November 19, 2011) – The No. 2 nationally ranked Franklin Pierce University men's soccer team clinched a trip to the 2011 NCAA Division II Final Four on Saturday night via its 1-0 triumph over Southern New Hampshire in the quarterfinals at Sodexo Field in Rindge. The Ravens improved to 21-0-1, while the Penmen concluded their season with an 18-4 mark.
The Ravens punched their ticket to the fourth Final Four in program history. This year's edition of the Ravens joins the 1991, 2005 and 2007 teams as the four squads in team history to make its way to the national semifinals. The 2005 and 2007 teams reached the finals, with the '07 squad downing Lincoln Memorial, 1-0, to clinch the first NCAA championship in program history.
The 2011 NCAA Division II Final Four will be held on Dec. 1-3 in Pensacola, Fla. Franklin Pierce will face Lynn in the semis on Thursday, Dec. 1. That match can be seen live online at www.ncaa.com(.)
Both teams played spirited defense throughout the entire match as neither side mustered double-digit shots.
After a scoreless first half, Franklin Pierce struck early in the second half with the only goal it needed when senior midfielder Paul Latif (Newcastle, England) dribbled down into the left side of the box and sent a shot towards the net. Junior Nicholas Schibly (Litchfield, N.H.) sprinted towards the goal and got his foot on the ball to chip it over the outstretched arms of SNHU goalkeeper Jon Mayo and into the upper right corner of the goal. It was Schibly's second goal of the season, as it came in the 49th minute. Latif earned an assist on the play to earn a point, which came one match after he logged an amazing six-point affair in Franklin Pierce's 5-0 win over St. Thomas Aquinas last Saturday in the second round.
Southern New Hampshire tried to pick up the intensity offensively in the closing minutes and was able to put a pair of shots on goal, but FPU senior keeper Vinny Papageorgiou (Wilmington, Mass.) stopped both tries to record his fifth-straight shutout (13th overall this season) and run his record to 21-0-1 on the season. In fact, Franklin Pierce has not allowed a goal in any post-season match this season.
Franklin Pierce outshot Southern New Hampshire, 9-8, while putting three shots on goal. The shot total was 6-3 in favor of the Ravens in the first half, but neither side could get a shot on goal. Senior midfielder Diego Tabares (Seekonk, Mass.) recorded five of Franklin Pierce's six shots in the opening 45 minutes, while Mohamed Toufik struck two of his team's tries.
As the final seconds wound down the large student body which had gathered for the match, stormed the field to cheer with the Ravens. One of the largest crowds in Sodexo Field history was treated to one of the biggest moments in program history and was able to watch a team continue to add to its program-record for wins in a single season (21).
The win over Southern New Hampshire also completed a three-game sweep for the Ravens this season. Franklin Pierce downed the Penmen, 2-1 in overtime, in Manchester on Sept. 17, and then responded with a 1-0 triumph in the Northeast-10 Conference Championship match on Nov. 6 in Rindge.
Franklin Pierce, which is making its 17th NCAA Tournament appearance in program history, also evened its all-time record in NCAA post-season play to 15-15-4. Since 2005, Franklin Pierce is an amazing 12-5-3 in NCAA Tournament play.
For more information on Franklin Pierce men's soccer and for all the latest updates on the team's preparations for the Final Four in Pensacola, 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).