READING, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall's No. 6 ranked men's soccer team rallied to pull within one of Cal Lutheran late in the second half, but ultimately fell short in a 3-2 loss on Friday afternoon in Reading.
The Diplomats dropped to 0-1 following their regular-season opener while the Kingsmen improved to 1-0 with the upset win.
Cal Lutheran struck first early in the opening frame when Charlie Villa-Lovos notched an unassisted tally that put F&M in the early 1-0 hole. Just 10 minutes later, the Kingsmen piled on with a short chip pass over the Diplomat defense that led to a 50-50 with the goalie. Brandon Kearney capitalized on the opportunity for the 2-0 edge.
Senior forward Jason Tonelli provided a much-needed tally in the 32nd minute, sliding an unassisted marker under the Kingsmen net minder to pull the Diplomats within two. Cal Lutheran stole the momentum back with its third goal in the final minute of the frame, when Danny Pacheco collected a rebound off F&M's goalie and buried a shot for the two-goal advantage.
That score held until the 81st minute when a Jim Connolly set piece just outside of the 18-yard box found a home in the top-right corner of the goal, cutting the deficit to one. The Diplomats' relentless offensive attack accounted for five shots in the final 10 minutes but F&M was unable to hit pay dirt.
Despite the final score, F&M controlled the stat sheet, leading the shot count at 23-6 which included a 14-1 edge in the second frame. The Diplomats also dominated corners at 13-0.
Josh Gotlib (0-1) was responsible for the three goals allowed in 45 minutes of action and was credited with the loss. Freshman Sebastian Jenkins started the final half but did not see a shot on goal. Eduardo Garcia (1-0) earned the win with a nine-save effort.
The Diplomats aim to get back on track tomorrow in their home opener against Alvernia at 7:00 p.m.