Franklin Pierce 5, Assumption 2



RINDGE, N.H. -- Top-seeded Franklin Pierce, ranked No. 4 in this weeks National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/adidas Division II poll, captured its ninth-straight New England Regional title with a 5-2 victory over second-seeded and No. 21-ranked Assumption College in second-round action of the NCAA Division II Womens Soccer Championship this afternoon.

Franklin Pierce (20-1) advances to the quarterfinal round and will face No. 8-ranked Adelphi University next weekend and a date, time and location to be announced by the NCAA on Monday. Adelphi advanced with a 5-1 victory over top-seeded and host Southampton College in the Northeast Regional final earlier today. Next weekend will mark the third-straight meeting in the NCAA Quarterfinal for Franklin Pierce and Adelphi, as the Ravens won each of the last two years by identical 2-1 score lines.

Adelphi has really made a move over the past month, said Franklin Pierce Head Coach Jeff Bailey. They got off to a slow start, but have come on a ton. We expect another touch match like the last two years have been.

Assumption, which got a goal and assist from junior Andrea Marcoccio (Warwick, R.I./Warwick), sees its most successful season in program history come to a close with a 15-6 record overall.

We didnt play our best game today, which is disappointing, said Assumption Head Coach Neil Stafford. However, Im not going to judge our season on one game, its been a great ride. We have got an incredible group and our team chemistry is great, which is why weve been so successful this season.

Senior All-American Meghan Welcome totaled five points, including her program-record 27th career match-winning goal.

Franklin Pierce got a five-point effort from senior All-American Meghan Welcome (Haverhill, Mass./Haverhill), who totaled two goals and an assist. She netted the Ravens third goal of the match, which would prove to be the 27th match-winning goal of her career, surpassing the program record of 26 set by former three-time All-American Pauliina Miettinen from 1995-98.

Junior Sonya Hughes (Balbriggan, Ireland) netted a pair of goals on free kicks and All-American Laura Hislop (Belfast, Northern Ireland) chipped in a goal and assist.

Franklin Pierce has so many weapons, said Stafford. You focus on Hislop and somebody else kills you.

Hughes struck first just 1:20 into the match when she curled a 22-yard free kick from just above the upper left corner of the penalty area into the upper left corner of the net. It marked the fourth time in the last six matches the Ravens have scored within the first seven minutes of a match.

Welcome doubled the Franklin Pierce advantage in the 26th minute when she tipped in a cross from the right side by freshman Taryn Welker (Wayne, Pa./Conestoga) at the far post. Welcome netted the Ravens third goal in the 65th minute when a long pass over the top of the defense by Hislop sent her in on a break. Welcome headed the ball past charging Assumption freshman goalkeeper Lauren Matysiak (Holden, Mass./Wachusett) before tipping it into a wide-open net.

Welcome (left) and Hughes celebrate one of the Ravens five goals in today's win.

The teams then combined to net four goals within a four-minute span. Hughes started the flurry with a second free kick marker, this one from the left channel 30-yards from goal that curled inside the left post at 68:45 to give the Ravens a 4-0 lead.

Assumption got on the board at 70:22 on a counter attack when freshman Kim Sullivan (Natick, Mass./Natick) fed Marcoccio for a break and a shot from the top of the penalty area inside the right post.

The Ravens answered 17-seconds later when Welcome sent Hislop in on a break for a shot from the left channel into the lower right corner of the net at 70:39.

The Greyhounds netted their second goal at 72:43 when freshman Ashley McMahon (Bethel, Conn./Immaculate) headed in a cross at the far post from Marcoccio. Marcoccio had a chance to close the gap to 5-3 less than a minute later but her shot from the top of the box caromed off the crossbar at 73:33.

Franklin Pierce freshman goalkeeper Jenna Mello (Londonderry, N.H./Londonderry) preserved the win with four saves, while Matysiak finished with two stops.

Were getting goals from some different people, which you need as the games get more important, said Bailey. Overall, I thought we made too many mistakes today. Were just fortunate that (Assumption) didnt take advantage of them until late.

-- Courtesy Franklin Pierce