RINDGE, N.H. (October 25, 2017) – Opening a final week of the regular season which saw a pair of Northeast-10 Conference also-rans on the docket, the Franklin Pierce University women's soccer team took care of business on the front end on Wednesday night. The Ravens piled up 17 shot attempts at Sodexo Field amid a downpour, and sophomore midfielder Veronica Marques (Sao Paulo, Brazil) poured in a pair of second-half goals as the crimson and grey dealt Saint Michael's a 3-1 defeat.
With the win, Franklin Pierce improves to 9-3-2 (8-3-2 NE10), while Saint Michael's falls to 3-10-2 (2-10-1 NE10). Combined with the results of Wednesday's other games, the Ravens locked up a home game in the first round of next week's NE10 Championship with the victory. Regardless of the outcome of Saturday's regular-season finale, Franklin Pierce will finish as the fourth seed in the NE10, and will host the fifth seed -- either Assumption or Pace -- on Tuesday, Oct. 31, at 4 p.m.
The Ravens, who controlled the flow of play throughout much of the contest, put one home off a free kick in the 34th minute to open the scoring. Junior midfielder Nathalia Maria da Silva (Sao Paulo, Brazil) took the kick from about 25 yards out, in line with the corner of the penalty area, and curled her shot over the reach of Saint Michael's freshman goalkeeper Liz Vallatini. For da Silva, it was her team-leading sixth goal of the season.
Saint Michael's answered just 4:06 before halftime, on a free kick of its own in the 41st minute, on a play which could possibly be attributed in part to the deteriorating weather conditions. Sophomore back Meghan Dieterle took the kick for the Purple Knights, from just a few steps outside the corner of the box on the right side. She put a shot directly on goal, which Franklin Pierce senior goalkeeper Casey Cook (Beverly, Mass.) easily got her hands to. However, Cook could not hold the shot, and the ball got behind her and trickled inide the left post for Dieterle's second goal of the campaign.
Franklin Pierce game out blazing in the second half, and put a pair of shots off the cross bar in the opening five minutes of the stanza. The Ravens piled up a 12-4 advantage in shots in the second half, and eventually struck on a penalty kick in the 64th minute to break the tie for good. Marques kept her shot on the ground and tucked it inside the right post for her second goal in as many games.
Marques followed up with an insurance marker in the 82nd minute to create the 3-1 final. Sophomore forward Sophie Cousineau (Milton, Mass.) left a midfielder behind as she raced down the right side from near the center stripe. From the right wing, she dished the ball into the box for Marques, who was approximately 15 yards out from the right post. Marques juked a defender to open a shooting lane and the put the ball into the left side of the net to cap her first multiple-goal game as a Raven.
Cook (9-3-2) finished with four saves against five shots on goal to pick up the win for the Ravens. Vallatini (0-2-0) faced five shots on goal as well, but made only two saves, and suffered the loss for Saint Michael's.
The Ravens wrap up the regular season on Saturday, Oct. 28, when they host Southern Connecticut State in an NE10 contest. Opening kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Sodexo Field.
For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu). 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 (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu/store).