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Women’s Soccer Controls Game, Upsets No. 8 SNHU, 1-0

Ravens women's soccer
The Ravens celebrate the victory (photo credit: Emma Daniels).

RINDGE, N.H. (September 21, 2022) -- Playing on its home field, the Franklin Pierce University women's soccer team was the better team. The game's lone goal had a stroke of luck to it, but on Wednesday night at least, the luck was earned. The Ravens posted advantages of 13-9 in shot attempts, 6-3 in shots on goal and 4-2 in corner kicks at Sodexo Field, and used a 69th-minute tally by sophomore Jasmine Perez-Acosta (Cape Coral, Fla.) to upend No. 8 nationally-ranked Southern New Hampshire, 1-0, in the Northeast-10 Conference's premier matchup thus far in the young season.

With the win, Franklin Pierce -- which received votes in Tuesday's national coaches' poll for the first time this season -- improved to 5-1-1 (2-1-0 NE10). Meanwhile, SNHU suffered its first blemish of the campaign and fell to 5-1-0 (2-1-0 NE10).

As is common in matchups of this stature, things played on the tentative side in the first half. The highest-quality opportunity in the opening 45 minutes came for Franklin Pierce in the 39th minute. On a long throw deep in SNHU territory by freshman Jenna Delgado (Gilroy, Calif.), freshman Claudia Peirce (Carver, Mass.) received the ball at the top-right corner of the penalty area. In one movement, Peirce was able to corral the ball and spin to the inside, shaking her mark in the process. With room to work with, she lifted a shot from 15 yards out, but could not direct it to either corner, and SNHU graduate student goalkeeper Hannah Rose was able to punch it over the net and out of bounds.

The first 20 minutes of the second half went without much further of note. Ultimately, all that was in the game on Wednesday night was one misplaced boot by the SNHU defense. In the 69th minute, a loose ball in the penalty area came outside the top of the box for Perez-Acosta, 25 yards in front of the left post. She took a touch to her left in an attempt to open a shooting lane and let fly with her left foot, back against the grain and towards the lower-right corner.

Five yards inside the penalty box, SNHU senior back Alyssa McCarthy had good intentions as she stuck out her right foot in an attempt to block the shot. In this case though, it turned out the path to the back of the net was paved with good intentions. McCarthy caught only a piece of the ball and deflected it back against the movement of her own goalkeeper. Caught with no chance to recover, Rose tried to change directions, but could only tumble helplessly to her left, while the ball rolled nonchalantly into the goal to her right.

Visibly energized by the goal, the Ravens spent the final 20 minutes seeing the game out, largely without incident. Franklin Pierce rang up a 9-5 advantage in shot attempts against their top-10 opponent in the second half. The best chance to equalize for SNHU came in the 77th minute. A long, low cross from freshman Arianna Georgantas on the right wing skittered its way across the top of the penalty area towards freshman Imogen Noon, 15 yards in front of the left post. Noon hit a one-time shot and tucked it nicely towards the lower-left corner, but Franklin Pierce sophomore goalkeeper Gabby Calidonio (Flagler Beach. Fla.) was equal to it, diving to her right to make the save.

Sophomore Emilie Fox (Bridgewater, Mass.) had played the first half in the Franklin Pierce net and stopped the only shot on her goal. In addition to the save on Noon, Calidonio had earlier stopped a shot from distance by senior Jordan Butters in the 60th minute, as she finished with two saves to pick up the win (3-0-0) and finish off the team's second straight shutout.

Rose (4-1-0) made five saves against six shots in a losing effort for SNHU.

The Ravens are home again on Saturday, when they host Southern Connecticut State in an NE10 contest at 2 p.m. on Sodexo Field.