PREVIEW: Men's Soccer Returns to Conference Tournament, Battles With #19 SNHU Tuesday Evening

Niklas Laudahn celebrates after the Ravens 1-0 upset of SNHU earlier this year (Photo Courtesy of Luke Tracy)
Niklas Laudahn celebrates after the Ravens 1-0 upset of SNHU earlier this year (Photo Courtesy of Luke Tracy)

RINDGE, N.H. (October 29, 2018) – The Franklin Pierce University men's soccer program will travel to no. 19 nationally-ranked Southern New Hampshire University for the Northeast-10 Conference Quarterfinals Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. on Penmen Stadium.

The Crimson and Grey make their third consecutive appearance in the NE10 Tournament as they were shutout last year 2-0 by no. 19 nationally-ranked Merrimack College in the first round. Two years ago in 2016, the Ravens and Penmen met in the quarterfinals as FPU defeated SNHU 2-1 in double overtime. Current Raven defender Charlie Madden (Newton Abbott, England) headed home the game-winner for Franklin Pierce. However, FPU suffered a 2-0 setback to Adelphi University in the Semifinals and a 3-2 overtime defeat at the hands of the Merrimack in the 2016 NCAA Championship East Regional – First Round, their last appearance in the big dance.

Overall, the Ravens are 20-15 (.571) in the conference tournament with three league title victories (2006, 2010, 2011), the last coming in 2011, a 1-0 victory on Sodexo Field versus the Penmen. Paul Latif scored the game-winner for the no. 2 ranked Ravens and Tyler Rosa was named Championship MVP. Later on that season, Pierce and the Penmen met yet again as FPU recorded another 1-0 shutout over SNHU in the NCAA Quarterfinals. The win propelled the Ravens to the Final Four before coming up short in their quest for a national championship.

SNHU is a seven-time conference champion with their most recent NE10 title coming in 2015, which capped off a run of four consecutive titles (2012-2015). The Penmen are 24-10 (.706) in the conference tournament and have appeared in the championship game five times over the past seven seasons.

Last year, the Penmen were ousted from the first round of the NE10 Tournament 0-0 by Le Moyne College as the Dolphins won the penalty kicks by a 4-2 margin.

Since the 2008 campaign, the Ravens are a combined 10-6-0 versus the Penmen with the series tied 3-3-0 during the past five calendar years. Head-to-head overall the Penmen are 29-24-6 versus Pierce, but it is a different story in the league playoffs as FPU has a 5-1-2 mark against Southern New Hampshire and has advanced in each of the last six meetings.

SCOUTING THE RAVENS

The Ravens earned the no. 6 seed in the tourney and finished the year at 7-9-1, 6-6-1 NE10. FPU began the season at 1-7-0 struggling on the offensive side of the ball being shutout in four of those seven loses including three straight shutout defeats. Junior midfielder Noam Kolakofsky (Achziv, Israel) returned from injury and was the key cog in the Ravens run of six consecutive wins as they finished the final half of their schedule at 6-2-1. Kolakofsky, a two-time NE10 Player of the Week set a new personal-best in goals (7), shots (62), shots on goal (35) and game-winning goals (4) all which led the Crimson and Grey. The team captain ranked third in the conference in shots, third in shots on goal, third in game-winning goals, ninth in goals, and 10th in total points.

Ravens goalkeeper and one-time NE10 Goalie of the Week, junior Jadel Poon-Lewis (Diego Martin, Trinidad and Tobago) has also been a standout in the cage for FPU. He has set new career marks in minutes played (1554:05), goals allowed (17), goals-against average (0.98), save percentage (.754) and shutouts (5). Poon-Lewis stands third in the league in goals-against average, third in minutes played, fourth in shutouts, seventh in saves, eighth in goals allowed and save percentage.

As a team, the Crimson and Grey rank third in the league in shots (236) and their deep backline and strong play from Poon-Lewis has them ranked third in goals-against average (0.98) and goals against (17). Their five shutouts also rank within the NE10 top-five as well.

SCOUTING THE PENMEN

The no. 19 ranked Penmen earned the no. 3 seed after going 12-3-2 overall and 8-3-2 NE10 over the course season. Southern New Hampshire is led by three-time NE10 Player of the Week, senior forward Alex Satustegui carries the Penmen and the conference in goals (19), points (40), shots on goal (40) and game-winning goals (7). Satustegui has six multi-goal games this year including a foul goal, eight-point effort at home against Chestnut Hill College on September 1st. In net, senior Daniel Milton tops the NE10 in wins (12), shutouts (7), and goals against average (0.81) while ranking fourth in goals against (14), seventh in save percentage (.774) and ninth in saves (48).

Southern New Hampshire has one of the most explosive offenses in the league. They are atop the conference leaderboard in shots (309), goals (45), shots per game (18.2) and corner kicks (117) while standing in second in points (120), goals for average (2.65), third in assists (30) and shooting percentage (.146).

EARLIER THIS SEASON

Both squads met earlier this year on Friday, October 12th as the Ravens welcomed the previously no. 7 nationally-ranked Penmen to Sodexo Field. In a tightly contested contest, the hosts came away with a 1-0 win as Kolakofsky reeled in a through ball by fellow midfielder Joel Peterson (Christchurch, New Zealand). The pass split the two trailing defenders and left Kolakofsky in a one-versus-one situation with Milton. Kolakofsky deeked Milton out of his shoes, left him in the dust and dumped in his fifth score of the season in the 70th minute.

HEADING TO THE GAME?

If you are planning on heading to the game here are the directions to Southern New Hampshire University and a campus map for directions to Penmen Stadium.

You will be required to pay a small gate fee to enter Penmen Stadium. The prices are…

Adults…..$6.00

Children, Students & Seniors…..$4.00

NE10 Conference Students w/Identification…..$1.00

WHERE TO WATCH

Can't make it to the game? The NE10 and SNHU have you covered with live stats and free video. Click the links below to access the live stats and video.

LIVE STATS | VIDEO

You can also view the NE10 2018 Men's Soccer Championship page by clicking here.

WHAT'S NEXT?

The winner of this contest will square off against the victor of the no. 7 Southern Connecticut State University/no. 2 Adelphi University Friday for the Semifinals game at the higher seeded team's home field.

For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (http://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 apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' online store (https://fpuravens.com/store). You can also follow the men's soccer team on Twitter (https://twitter.com/fpumsoccer), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/fpumsoccer/) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/fpumsoccer/).