Franklin Pierce 2, West Chester 1

Nov. 19, 2005

RINDGE, N.H. (November 19, 2005) After a one year hiatus, Franklin Pierce, ranked No. 4 in the final regular season National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/adidas Division II poll, will make its record 13th NCAA Division II Final Four appearance in 14 years after collecting a 2-1 victory over No. 5-ranked West Chester (Pa.) University in quarterfinal round action of the NCAA Division II Womens Soccer Championship at Sodexho Field this afternoon.

Franklin Pierce (19-1-2) will face the winner of tomorrows quarterfinal between No. 7 University of Nebraska-Omaha (17-2-0) and No. 11 Grand Valley State (Mich.) University (19-2-0), which will be held in Omaha at 1 p.m. (EST). The final four is being hosted by Midwestern State University, in Wichita Falls, Texas, and will begin with semifinal round action on Thursday, December 1, with the National Champion being crowned on Saturday, December 3. Franklin Pierces match time will be announced on Monday.

West Chester sees its season come to a close at 20-2-2, setting a program record for wins and currently holding the NCAA Division II record with 18 shutouts.

I thought we had the tone of the game today, said West Chester head coach Tara Koleski. We dominated the second half and we had our chances, but didnt take care of our opportunities.

West Chester entered the match with the top defense in the country, but Franklin Pierce pressured the Golden Rams 2-5-3 formation from the outset, finding considerable space. Senior All-Americans Laura Hislop (Belfast, Northern Ireland) and Sonya Hughes (Balbriggan, Ireland) combined to put the Ravens in front just 9:31 into the match. Hislop spotted Hughes with a pass over the top of the WCU defense from the right side that hit Hughes in stride for a touch before finding the upper right corner for her seventh goal of the postseason (including NE-10 play) and 13th of the year.

Hislop put West Chester down 2-0 for the first time this season when she beat a defender, then broke in one-on-one with senior goalkeeper Heather Rinker (Norristown, Pa./Methacton). Hislop fired the ball into the left side for her team-leading 23rd goal of the season.

(Hislop) is a brilliant player, said Koleski. She created a lot of chances for Franklin Pierce. I thought we gave (Franklin Pierce) a little bit too much respect early on, but we got back into it. The second half was good West Chester soccer. Sometimes the game just doesnt go the way you want it to.

Franklin Pierce continued to have the flow of the match until it was whistled for the foul just outside the upper right corner of the penalty area in the 28th minute. Freshman Brittany Yetter (Bensalem, Pa./Bensalem) brilliantly struck the free kick into the upper left corner of the net to pull the Golden Rams back within a goal with 62-minutes left to play.

West Chester controlled the second half, registering the first five shots of the stanza before settling for a 5-4 advantage for the half, but put none on net. Senior Kalyn Miller (Harleysville, Pa./Souderton) settled the ball in a scramble at the top of the six in the 56th minute, but her shot missed just high of the goal. Freshman Alex Vido (Coronado, Calif./Coronado) had a shot from distance in the right channel carom high off the left post in the 67th minute.

It was a lot closer than I thought it would be after the first ten or twenty minutes, said Franklin Pierce head coach Jeff Bailey. We said all week, we couldnt give up free kicks and sure enough (Yetter) knocked one in off the post to put them back in it. I thought we played a little too deep in the second half and put a lot more pressure on us than we needed to.

Franklin Pierce sophomore goalkeeper Jenna Mello (Londonderry, N.H./Londonderry) made two first half saves to preserve the victory. She made a tremendous stop with her right hand on a one-on-one break with Yetter in the 25th minute.

Rinker made three saves in the first half for West Chester, before giving way to freshman Hilary Smart (Enola, Pa./Cumberland Valley), who made a save in the second half.

We know there will be four good teams in Texas, said Bailey. In years past, maybe we could afford not to play our best and still have a chance. Thats not the case anymore. The team that plays the best for two games will win it.

-- Courtesy Franklin Pierce