LANCASTER, Pa. - Franklin & Marshall saw its season come to a close in heartbreaking fashion on Wednesday night as the fourth-seeded Diplomats were ousted by fifth-seeded and red-hot Haverford, 3-2, in the first round of the Centennial Conference (CC) men's soccer tournament. The Diplomats conclude the year at 10-5-3 (5-3-1 CC), while the Fords have now won seven straight and improve to 10-6-1 (5-4 CC).
After beginning the CC season 0-4, the Fords reeled off five straight CC victories to sneak into the conference postseason and will now face off against top-seeded Johns Hopkins in Baltimore on Friday.
It was a thrilling contest from start to finish in which each team took advantage of its opportunities, particularly in the first half. The Fords jumped on top early on after earning a corner kick in the ninth minute. Matt Gorski sent the corner to the near post that found the head of Jamie Reingruber for a 1-0 Haverford lead.
The Diplomats answered back six minutes later as they were awarded a penalty kick following a Fords' foul on Ben Beaver in the box. Eric Elicker buried the penalty shot to the right side to even the count at 1-1.
The score wouldn't remain tied for long, as the Fords once again took a one-goal advantage in the 24th minute. Reingruber was this time on the other end of a score for Haverford. The sophomore played a cross near the end line on the right side to the far post, where Nikko Giannasca was able to settle it about eight yards out and ripped a low strike to the lower-right corner.
F&M bounced back from a deficit once again just two minutes later. Sam Lane drove a low liner from the right side to Beaver, who charged forward and flicked a perfectly-placed header to the left-side netting to again bring the Diplomats even with the Fords.
Both sides tightened up on the defensive side of the ball for the majority of the second stanza, until Alejandro Rettig y Martinez netted what would prove to be the game-winner in the 80th minute. After a deflected pass attempt by F&M near midfield, Martinez found himself with a clear path towards goal and finished the breakaway to send the Fords to the semifinals.
F&M goalkeeper T.J. White totaled five saves in the loss, while Haverford's Nick Kahn tallied one save in the victory.
The Diplomats say goodbye to two senior captains - Elicker and Rob Hassler - who've compiled a combined record of 36-20-13 and made three trips to the CC playoffs over their four seasons at F&M.
Haverford College (10-6-1, 5-4 CC) vs. Franklin & Marshall (10-5-3, 5-3-1 CC)
Goals by period 1 2 Tot
Haverford College... 2 1 - 3
Franklin & Marshall. 2 0 - 2
1. 8:10 HAVMSO Jamie Reingruber (Matt Gorski) - header off corner
2. 14:17 F&M Eric Elicker Penalty kick
3. 23:38 HAVMSO Nikko Giannasca (Jamie Reingruber) - cross from right to far post - shot to lower right side
4. 25:57 F&M Ben Beaver (Sam Lane) - cross from right headed to left side
5. 79:21 HAVMSO A. Rettig y Martinez (unassisted) - breakaway 1-on-1 with goalkeeper
Shots: Haverford College 15, Franklin & Marshall 10
Saves: Haverford College 1 (Nick Kahn 1), Franklin & Marshall 5 (TJ White 5)