2011 NCAA Division II Men's Soccer Final Four Blog

2011 NCAA Division II Men's Soccer Final Four Blog

THURSDAY, DEC. 1 (After The Match)

9:09 PM (CT): Well...despite the loss, it was a fun ride during the 2011 season for the Ravens. This team's accomplishments won't soon be forgotten and we would like to thank the seniors for everything they have done over their four years. 

The team will be departing Pensacola at 12 p.m. (ET) on Friday and will be arriving in Rindge around 7 p.m. (ET). If you're around campus, stop on by and welcome home the team and thank them for all the moments they provided this season.

Finally, we hope you enjoyed this blog as it covered all of the events in Pensacola. We hope to do this more often when our teams get to the national stage of the NCAA Tournament. 

7:12 PM (CT): Lynn goes on top 1-0 with 6:18 remaining. Ravens have a little bit of time left, but not much. Stay tuned.

7:08 PM (CT): We are inside the final 10 minutes of regulation. Both teams have been locking it down defensively. Don't know if we are going to see any more shots during regulation.

6:57 PM (CT): The match has settled into a back-and-forth affair right now with neither side getting deep in the opponent's territory. 

6:45 PM (CT): Sorry for the delay in updating. Been busy doing some color commentary on the NCAA broadcast during the first half. Ravens looked tentative in the first half, but Vinny Papageorgiou did an outstanding job making four saves to keep it scoreless. The Ravens have looked much better in the second half and have generated more score scoring opportunities.

5:22 PM (CT): Must say that Franklin Pierce does have a vocal crowd in its corner tonight. The parents of the players really traveled well and are supporting their Ravens.

5:20 PM (CT): The starting lineups are being announced right now and we are just a few minutes from kickoff. It's about time!

THURSDAY, DEC. 1 (4:14 p.m. ET/3:14 p.m. CT)

After a nice stroll along the white, sandy beaches of Pensacola late in the morning, we got tired of sitting around the hotel and ventured over to the Ashton Brosnaham Complex, where the men's and women's Final Four is being held. We know it's still a couple of hours until kickoff, but we are watching Saint Rose, a fellow Northeast-10 Conference member, competing on the women's side and the Golden Knights currently lead Armstrong Atlantic, 2-0, late in the first half. Could this be a sign that today is going to be a great day for another NE-10 team??? One can hope so. 

The weather at the complex is gorgeous and it should be a great evening of men's soccer. We will continue to post here throughout the match, keeping you updated on what's going on. 

By the way, there is going to be a good turnout of Franklin Pierce fans tonight as several parents of the players will be in attendance. We even saw Michael Busto with his father, Larry, in the lobby of the hotel today. Mr. Busto made the trip all the way from Honolulu Hawai'i. Talk about some devotion to the program. Great to see all the parents and fans here.

THURSDAY, DEC. 1 (9:36 a.m. ET/8:36 a.m. CT)

Note/Stat of the Day: Franklin Pierce's undefeated regular season this year marked the first one in program history

GGGOOOOOODDD MMMOOORRRNNNIIINNNGGG!!! Can you tell that we are a little fired up today? If you can't...well...we are! And why not? The Final Four has finally arrived as the Ravens take on Lynn in the  national semifinals today at 6 p.m. (ET)/5 p.m. (CT). No more waiting, let's settle it on the field.

Click on the link above at the top of this blog to follow today's match if you aren't here in Florida. So far there isn't a cloud in the sky and the day is shaping up to be a beauty.

If you've been around the team this year as it enters Sodexo Field, then you know how seriously they take their pre-game music. It gets them in the zone as they get ready for competition. The first song on their warm-up CD is an instrumental song featuring the smooth sound of an electric guitar, along with the beats of drums. We figured since it's the morning of the big game, we would play that song to honor the guys as they get ready. Go Ravens! Plus, we've included some pictures from the season to go along with the music. We hope you enjoy your look back on what has been a terrific season up to this point.

We will be with you throughout the day updating on what the team is doing. It should be an exciting day for the team, school, administrators, fans, support staff and anyone else associated with the program.

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 30 (5:58 p.m. ET/4:58 p.m. CT)

Hello once again from sunny...not as chilly as this morning...Florida! When we left you this morning we stated it was a busy day of practice and the banquet for the Ravens. We are a little under an hour from departing the hotel for the NCAA banquet, but the day of practice and walk-through is in the books. We followed along with the Ravens to check out their final preparation before tomorrow's semifinal match versus Lynn at 6 p.m. (ET)/5 p.m. (CT). Included in this entry are pictures and a video.

(By the way...you should hear some of the student-athletes sing. American Idol is missing out on some real contestants, especially Victor Goncalves. Next time you see him on campus, ask him to do his rendition of AC/DC's Back in Black. Several players took the chance to show off their vocal cords while sitting on the bus heading over to practice.)

First...the pictures. The first two are of members of the Ravens team who don't get a lot of publicity, but without them, the 2011 Ravens wouldn't feel complete. These members operate behind the scenes, but their contributions aren't any less important.

Team Manager Dominick Gerald (taking care of some logistical planning for the team and its meal following practice).

Assistant Athletic Trainer Christine Levreault (some of the members on the team refer to her as "Mom" because she is always there for support, plus, she looks after the guys when they aren't feeling well). 

The team gets an opportunity to walk on the playing field for the first time.

One  more shot of tomorrow's Final Four field.

Finally, check out some of the highlights from today's practice.

Until tomorrow morning...have a great night and we'll talk to you on Final Four Thursday!

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 30 (10:19 a.m. ET/9:19 a.m. CT)

Note/Stat of the Day: Franklin Pierce is making its fourth appearance in the Final Four in program history, joining the 1991, 2005 and 2007 squads as the four to accomplish the feat.

Welcome to sunny...but...a little chilly Florida! We won't complain, though, as the team is in Florida during the final days of November and the early days of December.

Tuesday was a whirlwind day of traveling as the team flew out of Logan International in Boston at 6:30 a.m. and arrived in Pensacola at 10:30 a.m. (CT). (Just a reminder that Pensacola is in the central time zone, an hour behind the eastern time zone). The team is staying at the Holiday Inn Resort on the beach and the scenery is spectacular. Check out the photos below if you don't believe me. All eight teams competing in this weekend's men's and women's Final Four are staying at the hotel. The NCAA treated everyone to a Hawaiian-style luau last night.

Wednesday is going to be a busy day for the Ravens. The team will practice at 11:45 a.m. and will get a chance to check out the Ashton Brosnaham Complex, where the semis and finals will be held. We will be updating this blog later today with video from practice and the players' reactions the day before the big game versus Lynn. The NCAA will also hold a banquet tonight. Busy day, but it's going to be a lot of fun. Looking forward to keeping everyone up to date on all the happenings here in Florida.

A look at the bridge connecting the hotel to the sandy beaches of Pensacola. 

The balconies of the hotel, which provide an impressive lookout over the Gulf of Mexico.

The hotel swimming pool with all the decorations.

The waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

TUESDAY, NOV. 22 (2:19 p.m.)

Note/Stat of the Day: Franklin Pierce's 21 wins this season is a program record for most victories in a single campaign.

It's official.

Franklin Pierce is in preparation mode for the Final Four. The Ravens held their first practice on Tuesday since they made it through Super Region 1 on Saturday night in the 1-0 victory over Southern New Hampshire. 

The team went through a 90-minute session and then broke for the next couple of days as the guys will get to enjoy some time off for Thanksgiving. The team will return on Friday night for a practice, and will officially depart for the semifinals next Tuesday.

We will keep you updated with some random notes on the team over the next couple of days, but the blog will pick up in its coverage next week in the Sunshine State. We will talk with players, coaches, administrators and whoever else is on the trip. It should be a fun time.

Before we leave you today, we thought we should show you some sights and sounds from Tuesday's practice. We even got a chance to catch up with graduate back Tom Leaver. Enjoy and have a great night!

Jefferson Rojas slips by the defense with a nice move.

Michael Pelletier makes a nice save.

Head Coach Craig Stewart shows some of the skills that made him the 2004 NE-10 Player of the Year.

Catching up with Tom Leaver on how the season has gone so far.


MONDAY, NOV. 21 (5:43 p.m.)

Note/Stat of the Day: Franklin Pierce owns the best record in the nation for any men's soccer team at any level (Divisions I, II & III). The Ravens have a 97.7 winning percentage this year with a 21-0-1 mark.

Welcome to the 2011 NCAA Division II Men's Soccer Final Four Blog on athletics.franklinpierce.edu(.) Through the next two weeks we will keep you updated with all the latest happenings with the Ravens as they get set for their trip to the Sunshine State of Florida.

Franklin Pierce will face Lynn on Thursday, Dec. 1, at 6 p.m. (ET)/5 p.m. (CT) in the semifinals in Pensacola, Fla. The winner will advance to the national championship match on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 4:30 p.m. (ET)/3:30 p.m (CT). 

If you can't make it to the match, don't worry, as you can follow it live through online video (thanks to Turner Sports) at www.ncaa.com(.)

Franklin Pierce will begin its preparations for Lynn on Tuesday when the team holds its first practice since the win over SNHU in the quarterfinals on Saturday night. We'll be there to talk with some of the guys as they start their preparations.

Before we leave you today, we think it's important to take one final look back at Saturday night's big win over SNHU. Check out the video below of the match-winning goal scored by Nicholas Schibly (Litchfield, N.H.).