LANCASTER, Pa. – A pair of Jim Connolly assists helped key a commanding 2-0 shutout of Franklin & Marshall's No. 6 ranked men's soccer team over Alvernia on a rainy Saturday evening in its home opener at Tylus Field.
The Diplomats drew even at 1-1 on the year while Alvernia is still searching for its first win of 2017 after dropping to 0-2.
Eight minutes in, Jim Connelly found Jason Tonelli in the center of the box that gave the Diplomats their first chance of the night. Connelly's short cross hit its mark but Tonelli missed just wide of the far post.
The Connelly-Tonelli connection once again nearly found the back of the net in the 24th minute when Connelly stormed down the far sideline and sent a long cross far post that was one-timed by Tonelli. However, the Golden Wolves' goalie was in position to turn back the attempt.
In the 34th minute, the F&M defense came through with a pair of blocked shots on point-blank attempts in the box to keep the game scoreless.
The Diplomats finally broke through in the 50th minute when Connelly and Tonelli continued their strong play. Tonelli tallied his second goal of the season into the upper-left corner of the far post taking advantage of a long Connelly cross.
Six minutes later, Connelly's passing ability was on full display again when he took part in highlight reel goal. The junior forward launched a corner kick to the far post that was headed in off the line by Wyatt Fabian for the 2-0 edge.
Freshman goalkeeper Sebastian Jenkins ensured his first career shutout late in the final half, making a diving stop on a low set-piece shot from the Golden Wolves from just outside the 18-yard box. He followed with several impressive stops in the final minutes that kept Alvernia off the scoreboard.
Jenkins (1-0) stopped six shots through 90 minutes of action to claim his first collegiate victory. Zach Rider (0-2) suffered the loss after turning back three attempts on goal.
F&M travels to face Randolph on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at a contest hosted by Washington & Lee.