Pereira Cashes in on First-Half Free Kick as Women’s Soccer Downs Merrimack, 1-0

Pereira Cashes in on First-Half Free Kick as Women’s Soccer Downs Merrimack, 1-0

RINDGE, N.H. (October 7, 2017) – There were stretches of the second half on Saturday night where the Franklin Pierce University women's soccer team likely wished it had an insurance marker, but one would ultimately be enough at Sodexo Field. Sophomore midfielder Gabi Pereira (Belo Horizonte, Brazil) curled a first-half free kick into the left side of the net, and the defense made it stand up, as the Ravens posted a 1-0 win over Merrimack in Northeast-10 Conference play.

With the win, Franklin Pierce improves to 6-2-2 (5-2-2 NE10), while Merrimack falls to 4-7-0 (1-7-0 NE10). The Ravens dominated the game statistically, piling up advantages of 17-8 in shot attempts, 11-1 in shots on goal and 5-1 in corner kicks.

Both teams traded golden scoring opportunities in the opening 10 minutes, though the game's lone goal would not come until after the opening half-hour had elapsed. In just the seventh minute, Merrimack worked the ball forward and wound up springing senior forward Victoria Carter behind everybody, the goalkeeper included. Carter had the empty net to shoot at, but put her shot wide outside the right post to leave the game scoreless.

At the other end of the field, in the ninth minute, the Ravens set up junior midfielder Nathalia Maria da Silva (Sao Paulo, Brazil), who had space to maneuver about 12 yards from goal, dead in the middle of the penalty area. She found a shooting lane and targeted the left side of the goal, but Merrimack senior goalkeeper Molly Meehan was equal to the shot, as she sprawled to her right to make the diving save.

The only goal of the game would come off of a free kick in the 36th minute. The Ravens were awarded the free kick just to the left of center, approximately 25 yards in front of the left post. Pereira stood over the ball and took care of things herself, as she tucked a shot inside the left post for her team-leading fifth goal of the season.

Senior goalkeeper Casey Cook (Beverly, Mass.) was not tested often, but took care of business when called on, as she made one save to pick up the win (6-2-2) and her 19th career shutout. Meehan (2-4-0) stopped seven of eight shots on her goal in the first half and ultimately suffered the loss in net for Merrimack. Meehan was involved in a collision in the latter stages of the first half and left the game at halftime. Sophomore Erin Fulton took over for the second half and stopped all three shots she faced.

The Ravens return to the field on Wednesday, Oct. 11, when they travel to Saint Rose for an NE10 contest. Opening kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at Plumeri Sports Complex in Albany, N.Y.

For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics ( Also be sure to follow the Ravens through the Department of Athletics' official Facebook page (, its YouTube channel ( and its Twitter feed ( Fans wishing to purchase Franklin Pierce soccer apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' online store (