GETTYSBURG, Pa. – Katie Groenke's unassisted goal in the second overtime period lifted the No. 10 Franklin & Marshall women's lacrosse team to its sixth Centennial Conference (CC) Championship, and second in the last three years, with a dramatic 7-6 2OT victory against No. 3 Gettysburg on Sunday afternoon.
To watch a set of clutch plays that sealed the win, including the game-winning goal, click here.
The Diplomats improved to 16-4 with the win while the Bullets dropped to 16-3. F&M earned its 19th NCAA appearance, and 11th in the last 12 years, by securing the Conference's automatic bid. The Diplomats learn their NCAA Tournament journey tonight at 9:30 p.m. when the Championship bracket is announced on NCAA.com. Stay tuned to GoDiplomats.com for the latest updates involving the Diplomats' playoff information.
Maddie Hughes recorded a hat trick on four shots, to go along with two ground balls, two draw controls, and three caused turnovers, to garner Tournament MVP honors.
The Bullets controlled the first stanza and a half of overtime, but F&M goalkeeper Danielle Harrington stood tall in net throughout, recording numerous game-reserving saves. Gettysburg captured the opening draw of the second overtime period's final half, but Vanessa Budd scooped up the ground ball after a Sarah Bozzo caused turnover on a Gettysburg free-position attempt, to set up the Championship-winning possession.
Budd charged down the field, allowing F&M to set up its offense quickly. Groenke rolled around her defender and found open space on the right side of the field, before firing a shot past the Bullets' goalkeeper to deliver the Diplomats their first CC Title since 2015.
The final moments of regulation held its share of dramatic moments. Ahead by a 6-5 score with five minutes remaining in the second half, a clutch Harrington save returned possession to the Diplomats, who maintained control until just 37 seconds left in the contest. An F&M turnover deep in its offensive zone allowed the Bullets one more chance. Gettysburg marched down the field before Caroline Jaeger managed to light the scoreboard with just two seconds left to force overtime.
A free-position goal from Gettysburg kick started the games scoring six minutes into the opening half of regulation. However, the Diplomats responded quickly and jumped ahead 2-1 off an unassisted tally from Hughes, and a Hannah Serling score off a feed from Paige Moriarty with 19:15 to go.
The Bullets knotted up the game off a free-position tally with 15:15 on the clock before F&M once again rattled off two-straight. Hughes struck on another unassisted goal, and Gabby Frank fed Moriarty with 9:46 left for the 4-2 edge. Two minutes later, Gettysburg scored unassisted to pull within one heading into the break.
In the second half, the Bullets tied the game with 23:04 left, but Hughes scored her third of the game just three minutes later to put the Diplomats on top once again. Moriarty converted a clutch free-position opportunity with 12 minutes remaining to extend the F&M lead to two, but the Bullets came charging back to force overtime with two unanswered markers.
Following Hughes' three-goal effort, Moriarty tallied two goals and one assist while Frank was credited with a pair of helpers. Budd, Hughes, and Harrington all collected two ground balls, and Melissa Judge registered three draw controls.
Harrington (14-4) picked up nine key saves in 70:48 of play while Keller (15-3) was dealt the loss after recording five stops.