Diplomats Pick Up Seventh Straight with Win Over Bears

LANCASTER, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall used a 7-0 run to break a 6-6 tie and defeat Ursinus 13-8 in Centennial Conference (CC) men's lacrosse action Wednesday evening. The win is the seventh straight for F&M as the Diplomats improved to 7-2, 2-0 CC while the Bears dropped to 5-3, 1-1 CC. 

F&M came out of the gates strong with three goals in the opening 82 seconds of action. Mike Sanzone found Billy Kempner for the first goal while Chad Gamble and Wesley Rhudy netted unassisted goals to make it 3-0. Tucker Noel put the first points on the board for the Bears before Kempner found Will Ballantyne at 4:45. Ursinus answered with a pair of goals and Kempner picked up his third point by feeding Tommy Wenk with 38 seconds left in the first to put F&M up 5-3. 

The Bears quickly tied the game in the opening minutes of the second quarter with scores from Dylan Spangenberg and Mark Stratton. The teams traded points when Kempner and Wenk hooked up again and Steve Smyrl found the net for the Bears to make it 6-6. F&M countered with seven unanswered goals to pull away for good. The run started at 6:06 in second quarter and finished with 5:05 left in the game. 

Ballantyne started the run off with two straight and Philip Gamble found the net with 47 seconds left in the second to put F&M up 9-6 at the break. Ballantyne continued the run in the third when he buried a pass from Brendan Kenavan before Jamie McCulloch and Chad Gamble struck two minutes apart to make it 12-6 at the end of the third. Rhudy finished off a pass from Ballantyne with 5:05 left in the game to finish the run and Bears managed the last two goals of the game to make it 13-8. 

Kempner finished with four points and took over the ninth spot on the all-time points lists. Ballantyne had a game-high five points on four goals and an assist while Chad Gamble, Wenk and Rhudy all finished with two goals.

Jordan McLean caused two turnovers to pace the defense while Carlos Pelaez finished with four ground balls and Josh Kanter along with Connor Melillo picked up three ground balls for the Diplomats. 

Cameron Setian improved to 7-2 with a career-high 15 saves while Brian Neff took the loss with 11 stops and dropped to 5-3.

F&M went 20-for-26 in clear attempts and both teams managed to fire off 38 shots. 

The Diplomats return to action on Saturday when F&M travels to No. 7 Washington for a 1:00 p.m. game.