RINDGE, N.H. (November 8, 2018) – For the second year in a row, and the 21st time overall, the No. 7 Franklin Pierce University women's soccer team is headed into NCAA Championship play. The Ravens, who are the top seed in the East Region, are set to host the first and second rounds of the tournament on Friday, Nov. 9 and Sunday, Nov. 11. Franklin Pierce will open pursuit of its sixth national title at 2 p.m. on Friday against eighth-seeded Caldwell.
The winner of Friday afternoon's contest will advance to play in the second round on Sunday.
NCAA Championship East Regional
(Seeds in parentheses)
Friday, November 9 – First Round
Game 1: (4) Southern New Hampshire vs. (5) LIU Post – 11 a.m.
Game 2: (1) Franklin Pierce vs. (8) Caldwell – 2 p.m.
There will be a minimum of 30 minutes of warm-up time guaranteed to teams prior to Game 2.
Sunday, November 11 – Second Round
Game 3: Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner – 2 p.m.
The other half of the East Regional is being hosted by the University of Bridgeport. First round games at the other site will include second-seeded Bridgeport against seventh-seeded Stonehill and third-seeded Mercy against sixth-seeded Saint Rose.
Scouting the Ravens
Franklin Pierce (15-1-2) has won four straight and is unbeaten in its last nine (7-0-2) after making its run to last week's Northeast-10 Conference title. The Ravens took care of Assumption in the championship game on Sunday with relative ease, in a 3-0 victory. Senior midfielder Nathalia Maria da Silva (Sao Paulo, Brazil) was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player after the conclusion of play. She had scored the game-winning goal in Friday's overtime semifinal win against Saint Rose.
The Ravens have excelled on both sides of the ball, including a high-octane offense which ranks 17th in the country in goals scored per game (2.83). The NE10 Player of the Year, junior forward Veronica Marques (Sao Paulo, Brazil), leads the charge, as she sits 23rd in the nation in assists per game (0.56), 25th in points per game (2.11) and 36th in goals per game (0.78). In 18 games on the season, she has tallied 38 points on 14 goals and 10 assists. There are five Ravens who have reached double digits in points this season, and Marques is followed by her country-mate da Silva, who has 29 points, on 13 goals and three assists. Meanwhile, the Franklin Pierce defense is ranked third in the NE10, with a goals-against average of 0.97.
Freshman goalkeeper Casey Kane (Millis, Mass.) has played the lion's share of the minutes in net for the Ravens. She is second in the NE10 in goals-against average (0.86) and has posted a .745 save percentage on the campaign.
Scouting the Cougars
Caldwell (12-6-1) also comes into NCAA play as a newly-minted conference champion, as the Cougars laid claim to the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference title on Sunday. The fourth seed in the tournament, Caldwell knocked off top-seeded Georgian Court in the semifinal, before posting a 2-0 victory over third-seeded Holy Family in the title game, courtesy of goals from Carlyn Salus and junior forward Meghan Grundhauser. It marked Caldwell's second CACC title in three years. The Cougars are making their third all-time appearance in the NCAA Championship (2016, 2013).
Caldwell's offense also ranks in the top 50 in the country, as the Cougars sit 47th, averaging 2.21 goals per game. Grundhauser, an All-CACC First Team selection, leads the way, with 32 points on 14 goals and four assists. She is currently ranked 45th in the country in goals per game (0.74). Though the Cougars rank fourth in the 13-team CACC in goals-against average (1.56), the figure is good for only 169th in the country, out of 275 teams.
Freshman goalkeeper Jamie-Lee Bamford has logged every minute in front of the Caldwell goal. She comes into Friday's contest ranked fifth in the CACC in goals-against average (1.56) and owns a .778 save percentage
The two teams met most recently in the season opener a year ago, when Caldwell made the trip to Franklin Pierce on Sept. 1, 2017. Gabi Pereira (Belo Horizonte, Brazil) scored twice in a 3-1 Ravens win at Sodexo Field, which marked the first career NCAA victory for head coach Jonathan Garbar. Kaitlyn Elias scored in defeat for Caldwell, while Kiley Vermette (Enfield, Conn.) added a late insurance marker for Franklin Pierce.
Previously in the Postseason
Friday afternoon will mark the first-ever postseason meeting between the two teams.
Headed to the Game?
If you plan on making the trip to Rindge on Friday afternoon, directions to Franklin Pierce and maps of the Rindge campus can be found here: http://www.franklinpierce.edu/directions.htm
Ticket prices are set as follows:
Adults - $8
Children/Seniors - $5
Students (with valid ID) - $3
The Franklin Pierce Department of Athletics will subsidize the cost of the first 150 Franklin Pierce students, who will be admitted free of charge.
Per NCAA policy, complimentary admissions will be issued.
How to Follow Along
If you prefer to follow the action from home, from work or from elsewhere, both live video and live stats will be available.
The winner of Friday's first round game will advance to play in the second round on Sunday. The advancing team will meet the winner of Friday's other first round game at Sodexo Field, which begins at 11 a.m. and will feature fourth-seeded Southern New Hampshire and fifth-seeded LIU Post.
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).