RINDGE, N.H. (September 8, 2019) – In a game which was hardly kept under control by the rash of bookings administered, the Franklin Pierce University men's soccer team locked horns with Bridgeport in a high-tension, early-season, non-conference match at Sodexo Field on Sunday afternoon. The referee was kept busy throughout, as the teams combined for eight cautions for a mix of hard play, backtalk and time wasting. The Ravens eventually mixed in a goal among the deck of cards to pull out the 1-0 victory, which capped a busy opening weekend of the fall season in Rindge. The lone score came in the 69th minute, as junior back Cristobal Andreu (Castellon de la Plana, Spain) converted on a free kick by graduate student forward Javier Gonzalez Carraminana (Madrid, Spain).
With the win, the Ravens improve to 2-0-0, while Bridgeport falls to 0-2-0.
When the halftime break came, each team must have felt it should have scored at least once. The strongest chance for each side came in quick succession, at opposite ends of the field, late in the period. First, in the 31st minute, Bridgeport senior forward Leandro Avila went to work on the left side, near the top of the penalty area, and had his initial shot blocked by the defense. Avila was able to corral the resulting ricochet though, and suddenly had only the goalkeeper to beat from 15 yards in front of the left post. Avila pumped his shot past Franklin Pierce graduate student goalkeeper Clay Thomas (Franklin, Tenn.), but the left post remained unbeaten, as the ball thundered off the goal frame and bounded away harmlessly.
Just minutes later, at the North end of the field, Franklin Pierce graduate student Stefan Lohberger (Schoellnach, Germany) had his own golden opportunity in the left side of the penalty area. Lohberger created a situation where he was left with only the goalie to beat as well, and appeared to have done so, as he sent a shot across the goalmouth and out of the reach of Bridgeport sophomore goalkeeper Carlos Tofern. However, Lohberger was left only to bury his head in his hands, as the ball crept tantalizingly close to the right post and carried on past the end line.
The Ravens would ultimately capitalize on a free kick in the final half-hour for the game's only goal. Carraminana set up the free kick from just outside the top corner of the penalty area on the left-wing side and swung his service towards the right post. The Bridgeport defense was left with the option to try to play the ball or put a stop to Andreu as he charged the post, but instead did neither. This allowed the unmarked Andreu and the ball to arrive mere yards in front of the right post at the same instant, leaving Andreu with a simple header finish into the right side of the net. Andreu rushed off the left-wing side to celebrate his first goal as a Raven with his teammates, while Tofern was left only to express his displeasure with his own back line.
In all, despite just the one goal, the two teams combined for 23 shot attempts, which tilted 13-10 in favor of Franklin Pierce. The Ravens also enjoyed a 6-3 edge in shots on goal in the game.
Making his Franklin Pierce debut, Thomas (1-0-0) turned aside all three shots on his goal to pick up the win in net for Franklin Pierce. Meanwhile, Tofern (0-2-0) put together a five-save effort against six shots on goal for Bridgeport in the losing effort.
The Ravens return to the field on Thursday, Sept. 12, when they travel to Mercy for a non-conference contest. Game time is set for 4 p.m. at Mercy Field in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.
For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (https://www.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 soccer apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' brand new online store (https://www.shopfpuravens.com).