LANCASTER, Pa. -- #2 Franklin & Marshall survived a scare
from Dickinson in Saturday's Centennial Conference Semifinals. The
Diplomats (16-1) hung on for a 14-12 win, earning their way into
tomorrow's Conference Championship Final. The Diplomats will face
#4 Gettysburg, 18-8 winners over Muhlenberg, in the league
championship game for the seventh consecutive season.
The Red Devils (11-5) dominated on the draw circle throughout the game. In the first half it paid off in building a 4-2 lead with Abby Larson and Alyssa Crellin cashing in twice. Crellin's back-to-back pair were the first of five for her on the day. Both were set up by Amy Jennings who had four assists in the loss.
The Diplomats battled back with goals from Ashley Bevington and Meredith Lussier 23 seconds apart to knot it 4-4. Lussier, who also scored five goals in the game then assisted Blake Hargest to give the Diplomats their first lead since the opening two minutes, 5-4. It didn't last long.
Dickinson responded with three goals, two from Dana Bunting, three minutes apart. Nine seconds after Bunting's second, Crellin collected one of her seven draws and made a B-line for the F&M net making it 7-5 Dickinson. Lussier cut the deficit to one with a Free Position Goal late in the half.
It was Lussier who finally set the F&M on the right path. After surrendering a goal 24 seconds into the half, the Diplomats embarked on a 7-1 run on the Red Devils cage, sparked by a Lussier pair 37 seconds apart. 1:09 later, Bevington put the Diplomats ahead for good.
Sarah Meisenberg stuck twice during the run, broken up by a Sunny Ko tally for Dickinson. Lussier found the net again before Jen Pritchard capped the run with 8:12 remaining. Pritchard's goal made it 13-9 and stood up as the 22nd game-winning goal of her career.
Crellin and company were not through. Crellin scored consecutive goals less than a minute apart to make it 13-11 with 6:54 left. Amy Jennings, who spent the day feeding the Dickinson attack got her team within one at the 5:43 mark.
Dickinson got one more shot off with 4:16 left to play, then Paulette Cutruzulla forced a turnover with 3:57 showing. The Diplomats played keep away down to the 0:00.2 mark when Shannon Summers ended the stall with a run at the Devils' net.
Lussier's six points led all players in the game. Blake Hargest had a goal and two assists for F&M. Cutruzulla caused four turnovers for F&M while Allison Solomon caused three. In addition to Crellin's seven draw controls, Dickinson got seven more from Abby Larson. The Devils held a 17-10 advantage on the circle.
F&M will defend it's back-to-back titles tomorrow when the Diplomats host Gettysburg in the Centennial Conference Championship Game. The 1:00 p.m. contest will be aired live on B2 Networks, free of charge. Log on to GoDiplomats.com for details.