The Knights pulled off a huge upset Thursday night on the road, defeating defending Northeast Conference champion Central Connecticut 2-1.
Sunday, FDU travels to Fairfield, Conn., to play Sacred Heart at 1 p.m., for the NEC championship and a berth in the NCAA tournament.
“We still have to find a way to win on Sunday, which is the ultimate goal,” Knights head coach Eric Teepe said. “This was a big hurdle but by no means are we done with what we are here for.”
FDU defeated Sacred Heart 1-0 in their last match, on Oct. 9, and is on a five-match win streak against the third-seeded Pioneers (11-5-4), who recorded their first tourney win in 15 years with a 2-1 upset of No. 2 Merrimack in the other semi.
FDU is the first No. 4 seed to reach the final since 2004 and plays in the title match for a second consecutive year and the third time in the last four years. FDU won its only conference championship in 2015.
Graduate midfielder Madelyn Robbins scored her second goal this season, rising up to head in a long free kick by Paula Reuss at the 64:31 mark and the winning margin for the Knights against CCS.
Graduate midfielder Lea Egner’s fifth goal of the season tied the score at 1-1 in the 53rd minute of the match, as she bent the ball into the goal off a corner kick.
Victoria Violette of Central Connecticut (9-6-2) lifted the top-seeded Blue Devils to a 1-0 lead in the 48th minute of the match.
Sophomore goalie Malene Nielsen deflected a CCS shot over the crossbar in the 77th minute as she earned four saves on five CCS shots on goal (17 shots).
The No. 4-seeded Knights (8-10-2 overall) took 7 shots, and CCS goalie Caitlin Murphy recorded five saves.
The Central Connecticut loss ended a streak of four consecutive championships in 12 NEC titles since 1995.
FDU advanced to the semis with a dramatic 2-1 win on an 86th-minute empty-netter goal by freshman Andrea Ougaard over St. Francis Sunday in Loretto, Pa.
FDU’s Aitana Martinez-Montoya becomes the NEC’s first two-time player of the year, earning that accolade this week, the conference announced.
The sophomore forward from Madrid, Spain, scored 12 goals this year and joined graduate midfielder Egner (4 goals, two game-winners!) on the all-NEC first team. Graduate defender Ruess was named second-team all-NEC for the second year. Knight freshmen Emma Moe, Mona Schlegel and Katie Ward were named to the all-rookie team.
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