LANCASTER, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall's field hockey team starts the 2017 season ranked No. 9 in the nation, marking the sixth consecutive year that the Diplomats have debuted in the national top 10 of the preseason poll. The Diplomats start their season this Friday hosting Elizabethtown with a 7:00 p.m. matchup.
To watch the season preview video, click here.
Last season, Franklin & Marshall cemented its status as a top team in the Centennial Conference (CC) and in the nation. The Diplomats finished with a 16-5 overall record and went 9-1 in the conference. Appearances in the CC Final and NCAA Elite Eight continued to solidify F&M's place as one of Division III's premier programs. Expectations for this season remain high with seven key starters returning, as well as a strong group of underclassmen expected to step up as impact players.
Looking to make up for the loss of seven seniors, including All-American defender Bridget Falcone and leading scorer Melanie Consiglio, the Diplomats have brought in six freshmen to compete for playing time on the field.
To view the video roster, click here.
M – Annie Horsley – Sr.
D – Sarah Schannauer – Sr.
F - Sydney Cole – Sr.
GK – Ilianna Santangelo – Jr.
F – Emily Nagle – Jr.
The offense is led by senior Horsley, who ranked first on the team in assists last year. She is joined by Cole who tied for third on the team with eight goals and four assists. Coming off a standout rookie season, Coverdale looks to maintain momentum as she was second on the team with 10 goals.
The defense is anchored by junior goalkeeper Santangelo who recorded 73 saves and started in the cage for all 21 of the team's games while recording seven shutouts. In front of her is senior defender Schannauer who topped the team with six defensive saves.
In a preseason poll of CC coaches, defending champion Ursinus earned seven first-place votes and 97 points overall, making the Bears the preseason favorite. F&M finished second in the poll with three first-place votes and 92 total points. Muhlenberg followed with one first-place vote and 79 total. Dickinson garnered 75 points for the fourth-place spot, and Haverford finished fifth with 63.
To see complete poll results, click here.
The Diplomats have earned notoriety on the national stage as well. The National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) ranked F&M at No. 9 in its preseason poll, which is where the Diplomats finished up last season.
The full NFHCA release can be read here.
Eager Takes the Reins
Kaitlyn Eager, the 13th head coach in the history of the program, is set to begin her first year as head coach. She returns to the Diplomats following a highly-successful, six-season stint as an assistant at F&M from 2010-15. Eager spent the 2016 season as head field hockey coach at York College, where she guided the Spartans to a 13-6 record and a 4-2 mark in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC).
Eager takes over the Diplomats' program following the resignation of nine-year head coach Melissa Mariano, who accepted the same position at Hamilton College to relocate closer to family.
The Road Ahead
After opening up with Elizabethtown on Friday, the Diplomats travel to Rowan for a 12:00 p.m. matchup. Other important non-conference games the following week include Mary Washington on Sept. 9 at 1:00 p.m. and Eastern on Sept. 13 at 5:00 p.m.
Centennial action begins on Sept. 20 with a visit from Muhlenberg for a 12:00 p.m. match at Tylus Field. F&M travels to Ursinus on Oct. 7 for a critical match against the Bears. Regular season CC action concludes with the Diplomats down at Johns Hopkins on Oct. 28 at 4:00 p.m.
Conference playoffs are scheduled for Nov. 1, 4, and 5, while NCAAs are set to begin Nov. 8.
A continued feature to this year's schedule is the "Add to Calendar" button, which allows fans to sync new events and updates directly in their Google, Exchange, Yahoo, Outlook, ICal and additional calendars.
Look for the icon below, which can be accessed at the top-right of the 2017 field hockey schedule when viewed on your computer, or bottom-left of all schedules on your mobile device.
Follow Along (Social Media)
All of your favorite Diplomat athletic teams are available on social media. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram, like them on Facebook and subscribe to the Diplomats YouTube page for frequent highlight videos of games throughout the season.
Friday, Sept. 1, 2017
F&M vs. Elizabethtown | Lancaster | 7:00 PM
Series Record: F&M leads 24-20-3
Streak: F&M +4
Last F&M Victory: 2-1, Sept. 1, 2016
Last EC Victory: 2-1, Aug. 31, 2012
Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017
F&M at Rowan | Glassboro, N.J. | 12:00 PM
Series Record: F&M leads 5-1
Streak: F&M +5
Last F&M Victory: 3-2, Sept. 3, 2016
Last RU Victory: 2-0, Nov. 12, 1976