Franklin Pierce 1, SIU-Edwardsville 0

Dec. 2, 2005

WICHITA FALLS, Texas -- Franklin Pierce has advanced to the National Championship match for the first time in program history after collecting a hard-fought 1-0 victory over No. 4 Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville in semifinal round action of the 2005 NCAA Division II Mens Soccer Championship, hosted by Midwestern State University, at MSU Soccer Field this afternoon.

Franklin Pierce (16-5-5) will make its first appearance in a National Championship match on Sunday at 1 p.m. (EST). The Ravens will face No. 1 Fort Lewis University, a 6-4 winner over No. 9 Lynn University in tonight's second semifinal, for in the title.

The match will be televised live on College Sports Television (CSTV), located on Channel 610 for DirecTV subscribers and Channel 158 on the Dish Network. The match will also be broadcast live on WFPC-LP 105.3 FM and simulcast over the internet at SIU-Edwardsville, runners up in Division II a year ago, sees its season come to a close at 16-3-3.

It was typical of a playoff game, said sixth-year Head Coach Marco Koolman. I have to give credit to SIU-Edwardsville for a good match. For us, its not necessarily how you get to the end result, at the end of the day you just need to finish one goal better than the opponent.

SIU-Edwardsville out-shot Franklin Pierce 11-6 for the match, including 6-3 in the second half, but a long carry by All-America forward Christopher Joyce (Jarrow, England) set up the lone goal of the match. The Cougars also took 12 corner kicks to none for the Ravens, including seven in the second half.

Joyce carried down the left side, and then cut across to the middle along the end line. He found some space to square a ball back to freshman Raphael Guimaraes (Marlboro, Mass./Ashland) for a wide-open side-footed one-time into an open net with just 6:37 remaining in regulation.

(Joyce) made a great run, then came back across the end line, said Guimaraes. He cut back and slid the ball back to me. I was wide open and just put it in the net.

Sophomore goalkeeper James Thorpe (East Longmeadow, Mass./Bridgton Academy) made four saves to preserve his 11th shutout of the season (25th career). Thorpe made a tremendous stop on a one-on-one bid with SIUE junior Kevin Thibodeau (St. Charles, Mo./Chaminade) in the left channel in the 82nd minute. The save was the second in a two minute span for the two-time NE-10 Goalkeeper of the Year.

James has been a big plus for us over the last two years, said Koolman. Good goalkeepers make good saves, great goalkeepers make good saves when it counts.

They caught their break, said Thibodeau. We didnt catch ours.

SIUE had another golden chance early in the second half when senior Pete Cacciatore (St. Louis, Mo./St. Marys) hit the post on a look on an open net in the 57th minute.

Three inches and it probably would have gone in, said Cacciatore, whose father (1972) and uncle (1979) had both won National Championships at SIU-Edwardsville. But thats soccer for you. Its tough.

Franklin Pierce is making its second trip to the NCAA Division II Final Four. The Ravens lost to Florida Institute of Technology in the semifinal round of the 1991 Final Four, 2-1. Koolman, in his sixth season at Franklin Pierce, is making his fourth Final Four appearance, having made two as a player at Gannon (Pa.) University in 1989 and 1990 before leading his alma mater to semifinal round in 1993 as a head coach. Today marked his first win in the semifinal.

A strength of this team all year long has been their ability to take one game at a time, said Koolman. Sunday will be no different. We have a tremendous opportunity to be in the final and we need to attack it the same.

Joyces assist was his ninth of the season and takes over the lead in that category in the Northeast-10 Conference. He also leads all of Division II with his 28 goals and 65 assists.

-- Courtesy Franklin Pierce