Close, nail-biting contests were a trademark for the Franklin & Marshall women's soccer team during the 2017 season, due to the team's competitiveness and tenacity. The Diplomats continued to display yearly improvement as a program with a 6-9-1 overall record, including an impressive 4-2 non-conference mark.
To watch a highlight video of the 2017 women's soccer team, click here.
One of those out-of-conference victories came at home on Sept. 2 when F&M blanked No. 15 Stevens on Tylus Field. The momentous win against the eventual Empire 8 Champion and NCAA qualifier was F&M's first victory over a ranked foe in the head coach Heather Kemp era. The dagger came from freshman Allison Klei '21 in the 55th minute while classmate Gabby Panayotakis '21 registered six saves in net for her first career shutout.
The Diplomats took advantage of playing on their home field throughout the fall, culminating the year with a 4-3-1 record on Tylus, including a 4-0 shutout of Bryn Mawr on Oct. 21 as F&M celebrated homecoming and senior day with goals from four separate players.
Overall, F&M held its opponents scoreless on six occasions, while playing 12 games that were decided by one goal or less. Each of those shutouts was credited to Panayotakis, who was in net for all 1,483:58 minutes of the season on her way to receiving All-Centennial Conference (CC) Honorable Mention recognition. The freshman goalkeeper put forth a historic performance in F&M's Sept. 20th game against Dickinson when Panayotakis collected 20 saves, which was the fourth most in the program's single-game history and the highest total since 1987.
Joining her on the All-CC squad was backline stalwart Nicolette Runko '20 who landed on the Second Team after keying a unit that allowed multiple goals on just seven occasions while aiding the offense with a goal and an assist.
The team's offensive leader was Reanna Leoni '18, a senior forward who became the first F&M field player since 2011 to earn All-CC First Team honors. The distinction was the second of her career after Leoni led the team and placed fourth in the Conference with 23 points while accumulating a 1.44 points per game average that was the 10th best in program history. Her 10 goals on the year marked the first time since 2004 a Diplomat reached double-digit scoring, while Leoni's three game-winners tied for second in the season record-book.