Mitchell, Spark net seven goals in win
Franklin and Marshall's 23-game home winning streak snapped
LANCASTER, Pa -- The sign of a good team is how they respond when faced with adversity. Top-ranked College of New Jersey showed what they were made of Friday, rallying from three goals down in the first half with an 8-1 run to knock off No. 7 Franklin & Marshall College for a 9-5 win against the Diplomats.
Leigh Mitchell led the Lions' scoring with four goals and one assist, while Alex Spark also netted a hat trick.
The win puts the Lions at 14-0, while F & M drops to 12-2. The Diplomats also saw their 23-game home winning streak come to an end. The loss was only the Diplomats' third at home since the start of the 2005 season. TCNJ is 4-0 against opponents ranked in the top-10 this spring, with three of those wins coming on the road.
It wasn’t the start TCNJ was looking for as the Diplomats scored four of the game’s first five goals. Cat Serpe rolled out from behind the cage and went inside of the left post to start the day's scoring. Erin Dunne scored the first of her pair of goals when Maggie Mae Shields skipped the free position shot for a pass across the fan to make it 2-0. Caroline Krohn opted for the low left side on her FPS and slipped another by Mary Waller (five saves) to make it 3-0.
TCNJ got on the board with a bit of hard luck for F&M. Kelsey Hoffman denied a shot, but the carom rolled right to Jen Garavente who scooped it into the wide open net. Dunne quickly responded running through the Lions' defense to make it 4-1.
Then, TCNJ got on a roll, scoring five straight goals to close out the half. Mitchell ignited the run with a free-position goal and then set up Spark, making it 4-3.
Mitchell knotted the game at four with 10:37 left in the half and Spark gave the Lions their first lead at 7:42 converting an assist from Kathleen Notos. TCNJ kept the pressure on the rest of the half as Lauren Pigott took advantage of a free-position attempt scoring with one second left in the period. That goal sent the visitors into the break with a 6-4 lead.
In the second half, F & M scored 3:36 into the half, cutting the visitors' lead to one. But TCNJ’s defense clamped down. The Lions allowed only one goal over the final 50:13 of the game. The Lions netted the final three goals of the contest with Mitchell sandwiching goals around one by Spark.
In the closing minutes, defender Kelly Brennan collected a big draw control and Notos scooped up a key ground ball as TCNJ dominated possession during the final parts of the game.
The Lions outshot F & M 25-16 and took 15 out of 21 ground balls. F & M won 10-of-15 draws.
The Diplomats are only the second team to hold TCNJ below 10 goals in a game this year. F&M's Centennial foe, Gettysburg, is the other. The Diplomats' five goals are the third-most allowed by TCNJ this season. Gettysburg scored seven, while Salisbury scored six. F&M is now 2-4 against the top-ranked team in the nation dating back to 2002.