Bears Edge Diplomats in CC Championship
LANCASTER, Pa. - Seventh-ranked Franklin & Marshall fell just short in its quest for the first Centennial Conference (CC) field hockey title in school history as 12th-ranked Ursinus claimed its eighth straight CC crown with a 2-1 victory on Sunday afternoon at Tylus Field.
The Bears (16-3, 9-1 CC) secure the CC's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with the win, while the Diplomats (16-3, 10-0 CC) must now wait for Sunday night's NCAA selection show to determine their postseason fate. F&M will need to receive one of the five at-large bids into the 24-team tournament. Selections are expected to be made at approximately 10:30 pm on Sunday night.
After a tentative start from both sides that saw only two shots registered in the first 15 minutes, Ursinus took advantage of the first quality opportunity from either team with a penalty stroke in the 16th minute. Abby Wood, who entered the game just as the penalty stroke was awarded, buried the shot into the upper-left corner for a 1-0 Bears' lead.
Wood's tally proved to be the final shot of the half for the Bears, as the Diplomats began to apply more pressure in the Ursinus defensive half throughout the latter stages of the first stanza. F&M totaled five penalty corners and four looks at net in the last 10 minutes, but came away empty-handed and went into the intermission trailing, 1-0.
Ursinus then jumped out to a 2-0 advantage just over seven minutes into the second half as Alyssa Thren found a seam in the Diplomat defense in the 43rd minute. Thren dribbled diagonally from right to left into the circle and flicked the ball towards the right corner of the cage to give the Bears a two-goal cushion.
Much like in the first half, the Diplomats bombarded the Bears with penalty corners following an Ursinus score and were able to break through in the 63rd minute off the stick of Chelsey Talhelm. Following a corner, Diana Aulisa played a cross towards goal that was re-directed by Allison McLaren, before Talhelm slid it home to pull F&M within reach with 7:32 remaining.
F&M pushed forward multiple times over the final several minutes, but the Ursinus defense stiffened and the Bears came away with the title. The Diplomats held the edge in shots (14-12) and penalty corners (15-10).
Goalkeeper Avery Koep totaled four saves in the loss for the Diplomats, while Jill Lukens tallied six saves in the victory for Ursinus.
F&M must now wait for tonight's release of the NCAA brackets to see if it receives an at-large berth into the postseason. The NCAA selection show is scheduled for 10:30 pm. Click this link to view the selections and check back to GoDiplomats.com for updates regarding F&M field hockey's postseason fate.
#12 Ursinus (16-3, 9-1 CC) vs.#7 Franklin & Marshall (16-3, 10-0 CC)
Goals by period 1 2 Tot
Ursinus............. 1 1 - 2
Franklin & Marshall. 0 1 - 1
1. 15:22 UC Abby Wood (3) Penalty stroke
2. 42:20 UC Alyssa Thren (19) (unassisted) - from left side to far corner
3. 62:28 F&M Chelsey Talhelm (16) (Allison McLaren)
Shots: Ursinus 12, Franklin & Marshall 14
Saves: Ursinus 6 (Jill Lukens 6), Franklin & Marshall 6 (Avery Koep 4; TEAM 2)