With a pair of convincing victories in the opening two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, Franklin & Marshall's men's soccer team earned its place in the Sweet 16 for the third consecutive year.
F&M in the Tournament: The Diplomats are in the NCAA postseason for the fifth time in the history of their program and the third consecutive year. Since tournament play began, F&M has reached as high as the Elite Eight in 2013, falling to Messiah by a 4-1 tally. The Diplomats are in search of their second National Championship, earning the title in 1952.
At that time, all 312 colleges and universities that competed in intercollegiate soccer were considered part of one division. There were no playoffs to determine a national champion, therefore, coaches essentially crowned the 9-0 Diplomats after their perfect season.
For three straight years, F&M has won its opening two games of the tournament, this season handling Babson by a 5-1 score, before eliminating Gordon by a 3-1 mark in Lancaster.
A Look at the Pod: F&M (17-3) squares off against undefeated Calvin (22-0-1) on Friday for the first time in series history. Both rounds will take place at Lavec Field on the campus of Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.
The Knights are in the midst of their 14th NCAA Tournament and eighth in the last nine years. Sitting at 12-12-8 all time in tournament play, Calvin has reached the final four twice and the national championship twice, dropping both finals in 2009 and 2011. Wins against Mt. Aloysius (1-0) on Saturday and Ohio Wesleyan (2-1) on Sunday punched the Knight's ticket to the quarterfinals.
Defending national champion Tufts (11-4-3) takes on No. 5 Kenyon (18-1-1) in the other sweet 16 matchup of the bracket. Tufts earned an at-large bid into the tournament for the fifth time in program history and third in the last four years, reaching this year's Sweet 16 after downing Salisbury by a 2-1 score on Saturday and No. 4 Montclair St. by a 3-2 tally on Sunday.
Kenyon made it through the opening two rounds by eliminating Westminster College (1-0) and defeating the University of Chicago (1-1) off a 4-2 score in penalty kicks. The Lords are in the tournament for the third straight season and the 12th time in program history.
To view the complete bracket, click here.
Ticket Prices: Tickets will cost $7 for adults, $5 for students and $3 for senior citizens and children.
In the Rankings: F&M fell out of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) final regular season standings, but received three votes, while the Diplomats are currently ranked 11th in the D3soccer.com poll. Haverford, No. 7 (NSCAA) and No. 8 (D3Soccer), along with Dickinson, No. 21 (NSCAA) and No. 24 (D3soccer) are the other nationally ranked Centennial Conference (CC) Institutions.
Among the Leaders (NCAA): F&M's shutdown defense ranks among the best in the nation in several statistical categories, placing 17th in goals against average (0.60) and 28th in shutout percentage (55 percent). Individually, goalkeeper Trevor Britton's 0.52 goals against average is the 10-best throughout Division III.
Record Book Watch: Britton enters the week with 33 career wins, which places him third on the program's all-time list. Zach Zamek '10 leads the way with 41. The senior goalkeeper's 21 shutouts are second, a record that also belongs to Zamek with 25.
Chase TenBrook continues to climb the ladder in several offensive categories and currently places seventh in career points (66), seventh in career goals (28) and third in game-winning scores (8).
As a team, the Diplomats' 48 goals scored in 2015 are a single-season record, overtaking the 46 tallied by the 1984 squad.
Impressive Depth: One of F&M's greatest strengths this year has been its depth. Twenty-one Diplomats have appeared in double-digit games, with 19 recording at least a point on the season, while 15 have scored at least one goal. Complete statistics from the 2015 season can be viewed here.