2011 NE-10 CHAMPIONS!!! #2 Men's Soccer Claims League Crown with 1-0 Win Over #12 SNHU
Ravens claim fifth conference crown in program history
Paul Latif scored the match-winner in Sunday's 1-0 win over SNHU in the NE-10 Championship.
RINDGE, N.H. (November 6, 2011) – The Franklin Pierce University men’s soccer team is Northeast-10 Conference champions once again!
The No. 2 Ravens won the league title on Sunday with a 1-0 win over No. 12 Southern New Hampshire in the 2011 Northeast-10 Conference championship match at Sodexo Field in Rindge. Franklin Pierce improved to 19-0-1, while SNHU dipped to 17-3.
It marked the second-straight season the Ravens captured both the league’s regular season and tournament championships. Franklin Pierce entered this year’s post-season tournament as the top seed after claiming the regular season crown, while SNHU was the second seed.
Franklin Pierce also captured its fifth conference championship in program history since becoming an NCAA Division II member in the late 1980s. FPU’s other conference titles came in 1991 and 1995 as a member of the NECC, and in 2006 and 2010 as a member of the NE-10.
This year’s conference title was just as sweet considering Franklin Pierce went the entire way without suffering a loss in 20 matches.
Sunday’s championship match was tightly contested and physical as both sides took several opportunities to make a play on the ball. Both teams worked tirelessly on the defensive side and limited the other to just six shots apiece for the contest. In fact, both teams were only able to fire off a pair of shots apiece in a scoreless first half.
In a match where offense was hard to come by, the Ravens took their experience from last season’s NE-10 championship match and put it to good use in the opening minutes of the second half to take a 1-0 lead.
In the 53rd minute, and both teams keeping the pace of play near the midfield stripe, Ravens junior midfielder Nicholas Schibly (Litchfield, N.H.) picked off a SNHU pass and chipped it up ahead to senior Paul Latif (Newcastle, England), who tracked down the loose ball in Penmen territory. Latif was able to dribble through a pair of SNHU defenders and get down deep into the box where he slipped a shot past the goalkeeper into the lower left corner of the net to put the Ravens on top.
The goal was Latif’s third of the season, and like his previous two tallies this year, would prove to be the match-winner. Schibly was credited with an assist on the play for his first helper of the season. Latif’s championship-winning goal landed him on the NE-10 All-Championship Team.
Franklin Pierce buckled down even more on the defensive end and limited the Penmen to just one quality scoring chance the rest of the match. The one opportunity Southern New Hampshire had was late in the contest, but Franklin Pierce senior goalkeeper Vinny Papageorgiou (Wilmington, Mass.) was there to make the save to preserve the shutout. He earned the win to run his record to 19-0-1 on the season with 11 shutouts.
Papageorgiou and his backfield mates were outstanding throughout the entire three-game post-season tournament by shutting out the opposition in all three contests. In fact, Franklin Pierce held the opposition to just 10 shots combined in the semifinals and finals. For his efforts defensively, junior back Tyler Rosa (Rehoboth, Mass.) was named the tournament’s most outstanding player and earned a spot on the All-Championship Team.
Franklin Pierce also played well offensively throughout the tournament and outscored the opposition by a combined score of 7-0. Graduate back Daniel Donaldson (Moenchengladbach, Germany) scored three goals during the tournament to complement his strong defensive play, and he too, found himself placed on the All-Championship Team.
Franklin Pierce will now move onto the NCAA Division II Tournament, which will begin next weekend. The official announcement of the brackets and regionals will be made on Monday evening at 7 p.m. on www.NCAA.com(.)
For more information on Franklin Pierce men’s soccer and the upcoming NCAA Division II Tournament, please visit the team’s page at athletics.franklinpierce.edu(.) To follow the program even further, please visit Franklin Pierce Athletics on YouTube (www.youtube.com/FranklinPierceSports), Twitter (www.twitter.com/FPUathletics) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceAthletics).