WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall's men's soccer team was undone by a second-half tally, falling to No. 12 Drew by a narrow 3-2 score in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday afternoon.
The Diplomats saw another remarkable season come to an end with an 11-6-2 record while the Rangers advanced to the next round and remained unbeaten on the year at 20-0-1. With the defeat, F&M saw its unprecedented run of four straight NCAA Sweet 16 appearances draw to an end. However, despite enduring injuries to key players, the Diplomats turned around a slow start to their season, eventually winning the program's second-ever Centennial Conference (CC) Championship and making the NCAA Tournament for the eighth time in history.
F&M's offense, which had outscored opponents by a 22-3 margin in the last eight games, once again came out firing when Ryan Fincher connected with Connor Whitacre on a corner kick opportunity in the ninth minute for the 1-0 Diplomat edge.
Drew was quick to respond, tying the game on a corner kick attempt of its own less than a minute later to even the score at 1-1.
Stephen Sherbahn broke the tie in the 33rd, beating the keeping at the top of the box and sending a shot into the right corner of the goal to put F&M ahead by one. With seven minutes to go until halftime, the Rangers knotted the score at 2-2 with a rebound opportunity off an initial Christopher Amoruso save.
In the 59th minute, Drew pulled ahead for good after securing a feed at the top of the box and firing a shot into the bottom left of the goal. F&M kept up the pressure in the waning minutes of the half, including a Sherbahn header in the closing seconds that sailed just wide to the right of the net.
Drew held the 19-16 edge in shots, but the Diplomats led by an 8-7 margin in the second half. Sherbahn paced the attack with five shots, including three on goal, while Ben Draheim and Zach Colton each tallied a pair.
Amoruso (8-2-1) suffered the loss in net despite registering seven saves while Jason Adomo (20-0-1) earned the win for Drew after turning back eight attempts.
The Rangers advance to tomorrow's NCAA Second Round to take on No. 8 Lycoming at 1:00 p.m.