COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – A stellar defensive effort came up just short for Franklin & Marshall field hockey on Sunday afternoon, falling prey to an Ursinus penalty stroke in the 11th minute of the first overtime for a 2-1 defeat. The Diplomats fell to 14-4 on the year, and finished as CC runners-up for the fourth consecutive season with the loss.
Eleven minutes of back-and-forth 7-on-7 action in overtime culminated in an Ursinus breakaway from the midline stripe. Sarah Schannauer made a remarkable stop as the Bears attacker tried to maneuver around F&M goalkeeper Ilianna Santangelo, but was called for a foul, resulting in an Ursinus penalty stroke. Bridget Sherry converted the stroke into the left side of the cage, sealing the game for the Bears 2-1.
The conference title is the fourth straight for Ursinus.
The touch-and-go ending exemplified an afternoon full of action for both sides, beginning in the 28th minute when the Bears went up 1-0 on a goal from Amber Steigerwalt. The Diplomats were quick to respond, however, evening the score just three minutes later when Phoebe Wood deflected Annie Horsley's shot into the path of Emily Nagle, who scored at the left post for her third goal in two days.
At halftime, Ursinus held slim leads of 5-2 in shots and 3-1 in corners.
Strong defense from both sides limited opportunities in the second stanza. F&M's counterattacking style produced the best opportunity of the second half in the 54th minute, when Mel Gula broke down the left side and found Melanie Consiglio in the middle, with her redirected effort slipping just wide of the right post. Bridget Falcone's flawless play, including a pair of vital interventions in the 55th and 68th minutes, powered an F&M defense that allowed just two shots in the second half.
At the end of regulation, the Bears held a 7-3 edge in shots and a 4-2 lead in corners, after 70 minutes of even and entertaining field hockey set up the dramatic finish.
Consiglio, Nagle, and Erin Coverdale all attempted shots for the Diplomat offense on the day. Santangelo (14-4) recorded four saves in the cage for F&M.
The Diplomats learn their NCAA fate tomorrow as they look to earn their third consecutive berth in the national tournament. Stay tuned to GoDiplomats.com as more information is made available.