RINDGE, N.H. (November 2, 2018) – If a barn stood at Sodexo Field, it would have burned to the ground long before the completion of Friday night's Northeast-10 Conference Championship semifinal. The energy from the No. 8 nationally ranked Franklin Pierce University women's soccer team and Saint Rose would have reduced it to ashes before regulation was even completed, as the two locked horns in a game which could simply stand in as the definition of "barnburner". Each team trailed by two goals at one point in the contest, which eventually went to overtime. Ultimately, the top-seeded Ravens got a 93rd-minute goal from senior midfielder Nathalia Maria da Silva (Sao Paulo, Brazil) – her second of the game – to post a 6-5 victory over the fourth-seeded Golden Knights.
With the win, Franklin Pierce improves to 14-1-2, while Saint Rose falls to 13-4-3.
Franklin Pierce advances to host the final round of the NE10 Championship on Sunday, the team's second straight trip to the final. The Ravens will host Assumption in the title game, after the sixth-seeded Greyhounds scored a 2-0 upset on the road at second-seeded Southern New Hampshire in Friday's other semifinal. Sunday will mark the return of the NE10 final to Sodexo Field for the first time since 2008, and the fifth time overall. It will be Franklin Pierce's 12th appearance in the league championship game.
Meanwhile, Saint Rose must await Monday evening's selection show to find the fate of its possible NCAA Championship bid.
The teams got things started in a hurry on Friday night, as the two sides traded goals in the opening seven minutes, in a sign of what was to come throughout the rest of the night. In just the third minute, a touch pass from junior forward Veronica Marques (Sao Paulo, Brazil) – who finished with two goals and two assists – set up a shooting lane for freshman back Christina Barbellido (Madrid, Spain) at the top of the penalty area. Barbellido stepped into a hard shot from there. Saint Rose junior goalkeeper Marika Laurendeau was able to get her hands to the shot, but succeeded only in knocking it into the roof of the net, for Barbellido's first collegiate goal.
Saint Rose answered just 4:02 later, in the seventh minute. Junior forward Morgan Burchhardt – who tallied a goal and two assists in the game – sent the ball ahead from the left side of the midfield and found freshman forward Kaelyn Britt. Britt was outside the top of the 18-yard box and moved towards the right-wing side. She put her shot back against the grain, which forced Franklin Pierce freshman goalkeeper Casey Kane (Millis, Mass.) to dive towards the right post. Kane got her hands to the shot as well, but also could not keep it out, as Britt tallied her seventh goal of the campaign.
The game settled in from there, before another scoring flurry in the final 15 minutes of the first half. Britt struck again, once again off a feed from Burchhardt, in the 31st minute. Burchhardt provided a long service from the left side of the midfield, and Britt got on the other end of it at the top of the six-yard box, in front of the right post. Britt's initial shot was saved by Kane, but the rebound came straight back to Britt, who put away the second-chance opportunity to give the Golden Knights the lead.
Saint Rose made it a 3-1 game in the 42nd minute. Again, the ball was played ahead from the left side of the midfield, this time from junior midfielder Eva Frazzoni, to junior forward Nina Predanic, who was outside the top of the penalty area. Predanic maneuvered around the last defender to open a shooting lane and then slotted away her 14th goal of the season, her first of two on the game.
Franklin Pierce answered just 55 seconds later, in the 43rd minute, to cut the gap to 3-2 heading into halftime, as the Ravens capitalized on a defensive breakdown by Saint Rose. Marques made a shake-and-bake move to leave a defender behind at the top of the penalty area, out in front of the left post. She ultimately uncorked her shot from about 15 yards out, through traffic. The ball was deflected en route by the Saint Rose defense, which was enough to throw Laurendeau off the scent, and the ball wound up in the back of the net for Marques' 13th goal of the season.
With five goals in the first half, the game was far from done at the halfway mark, as five more balls found the net in the second half. First, Franklin Pierce surged to a 5-3 lead, with three goals in a span of just seven minutes. In the 56th minute, Barbellido centered a ball from the left-wing side, outside the top of the 18-yard box. Receiving the pass at the top of the box, Marques simply touched the ball to leave it off for da Silva, who immediately sent a shot into the upper-left reaches of the net for her 12th goal of the year.
Marques followed 2:29 later with her second goal of the afternoon, after she was able to track down the ball behind the Saint Rose defense. In all alone, she put a shot inside the right post from the top of the penalty area to give Franklin Pierce its first lead since the game's opening 10 minutes.
Another 4:31 later, the Ravens pushed the lead as high as 5-3. The play started with senior back Marta Turmo (Barcelona, Spain) in the right-wing side of the penalty area, as she sent the ball into the middle for senior forward Bruna Tavares (Belo Horizonte, Brazil). Tavares was able to touch the ball along the top of the six-yard box and send it on to the left post, where freshman midfielder Jessica Magerman (Bellingham, Mass.) had the easy finish for her second goal of the year.
The Ravens took the two-goal lead into the final 15 minutes, but still the game was not put to rest. Saint Rose made it 5-4 in the 79th minute, after Predanic sent a long service towards the net from the right side of the midfield. Burchhardt capped her big day by tracking down the ball at the left post to put away her seventh goal of the year.
The Golden Knights then needed just another 2:15 to find the equalizer, in the 80th minute, with 9:44 remaining in regulation. Predanic made a strong individual effort this time, to cap off a five-point day of her own (2-1-5). About 40 yards from goal and with possession of the ball, she made a power move around the last defender on the right-wing side and turned on the afterburners. Clear of the defense, the slipped a shot inside the left post from the top of the penalty area to even the score.
It all set the stage for da Silva's heroics in the 93rd minute, just 2:16 into overtime. Tavares was the catalyst on the play, as she provided a centering feed from along the end line, to the left-wing side of the goal. Her pass found da Silva about 12 yards in front of the left post and the latter buried the shot from there to send her teammates spilling off the bench in celebration and through to Sunday's final.
Kane (10-2-2) finished with five saves against 10 shots on goal to pick up the win in net for the Ravens. Laurendeau (13-4-3) stopped five of 11 shots on her goal and suffered the loss for Saint Rose. The two teams combined for 40 shot attempts and 21 shots on goal, to go with the 11 total goals.
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' online store (https://www.fpuravens.com/store).