October 30, 2011

Playoff Bound

LANCASTER, Pa. - Franklin & Marshall secured a spot in the Centennial Conference (CC) playoffs for the third straight season as the Diplomats and visiting Dickinson played to a scoreless draw on Sunday afternoon at Tylus Field. F&M wraps up its regular season at 10-4-3 (5-3-1 CC), while the Red Devils move to 9-4-4 (6-2-1 CC) and clinch the No. 2 seed in the CC tournament.

The Diplomats must now wait for the outcome of two Monday night CC contests to determine their seed in upcoming conference tournament. F&M currently sits in third place with 16 points, while Swarthmore and Muhlenberg each have 15 points with one game remaining. Muhlenberg and Ursinus will face off on Monday at 7:00 pm, while Haverford will host Swarthmore at 7:30 pm.

Sunday's contest was a physical battle that saw the two sides combine for 34 fouls and five yellow cards. Although neither team was able to deliver a score, the game featured a multitude of opportunities from each squad.

Sam Lane nearly put the Diplomats on top immediately following the opening kickoff, as his strike from the top of the box was touched wide by a sprawled-out Dickinson goalkeeper Cody Hickok just 21 seconds into play. That was the first of 12 saves on the day for Hickock, who time-after-time kept F&M scoreless with impressive stops.

F&M produced a flurry of quality chances just after halftime, but were again turned away by Hickock and the Red Devil defense.

In the 51st minute, Ben Beaver ran onto a through-pass from Mike Irving on the right side but was stuffed by Hickock. Two minutes later, Ryan O'Connell found Derek Pawlush over the top of the Dickinson defense, but Pawlush's shot towards the far post trickled just wide. Just seconds later, Beaver took a feed from Pawlush, again on the right side, but Hickock was in the right spot once again to keep the game scoreless.

Both sides produced quality looks off free kicks in the first overtime session, with each resulting in superb saves from Hickock and F&M goalkeeper T.J. White. In the 92nd minute, Eric Elicker bent a free kick from the left side around the wall that was punched out by Hickock. With just 31 ticks left in the first overtime, Dickinson's Jamie Martin ripped a free kick from the left side that appeared headed towards the upper-right corner of the net, but White dove to his left and tapped the ball just wide.

The Diplomats outshot the Red Devils, 20-11, and held a 7-5 edge in corner kicks. White (4-0-1) tallied four saves on the day in net for the Diplomats, while Hickock (7-4-4) turned away 12 shots for Dickinson.

F&M will return to action in the CC playoffs on either Wednesday, Nov. 2 or Saturday, Nov. 5, depending on the outcome of Monday's contests. Check back to GoDiplomats.com for updates.

 Dickinson (9-4-4, 6-2-1 CC) vs. Franklin & Marshall (10-4-3, 5-3-1 CC)

 Goals by period       1  2 OT O2  Tot
 -------------------------------------
 Dickinson...........  0  0  0  0 -  0
 Franklin & Marshall.  0  0  0  0 -  0
 
 SCORING SUMMARY: None

 Shots: Dickinson 11, Franklin & Marshall 20
 Saves: Dickinson 12 (Cody Hickok 12), Franklin & Marshall 4 (TJ White 4)

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