F&M gets first tourney win since ’92
Diplomats knock off SUNY Cortland, will face Middlebury next
LANCASTER, Pa. -- Making its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1992, 12th-ranked Franklin & Marshall made it count with a 3-0 triumph against visiting SUNY Cortland on Wednesday afternoon at Tylus Field. The Diplomats improve to 17-3 and move on to the second round, while the Red Dragons see their season come to an end at 12-7. This marks the sixth NCAA victory in program history for F&M.
F&M will now face off against Middlebury (14-3) in Saturday's second round at 1 p.m. ET as part of a four-team regional hosted by Skidmore in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Skidmore will take on the winner of the first round contest between Amherst and Gwynedd-Mercy, set for Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET, in the other matchup.
Despite Wednesday's contest marking the 13th consecutive NCAA appearance for SUNY Cortland, the Diplomats looked like the more seasoned squad on this day as F&M controlled the majority of the possession from the outset.
F&M took advantage of its first quality look at goal off a penalty corner in the eighth minute. Chelsey Talhelm played the corner to the top of the circle, where Maura Hennigan slid the ball to her left to the stick of Steph McDonald. McDonald then unloaded a blast towards the far post and the Diplomats took the early edge 1-0.
The Diplomat defense shut down the Red Dragon attack all afternoon long, holding the visitors without a shot until 25 minutes into the game. Cortland earned a pair of penalty corners late in the first half and a trio of corners at the start of the second, but the F&M defense clamped down to maintain the one-goal advantage.
Becky Willert, who became the first F&M player to be named Centennial Conference Player of the Year earlier this week, made it 2-0 in the 43rd minute. The senior forward notched her 28th tally of the season with a back-handed shot to the lower-right side of the cage.
In the 62nd minute, Allison McLaren put the icing on the cake for F&M with a finish off the rebound from Willert's shot for the final 3-0 margin of victory.
Goalkeeper Avery Koep totaled one save while posting her eighth shutout of the year in the victory for the Diplomats. Emily von Schondorf takes the loss for Cortland after surrending one goal with two saves in 15:54 minutes of action. Rachel Moccaldi replaced von Schondorf and tallied five saves.