LANCASTER, Pa. – The No. 10 Franklin & Marshall men's lacrosse team saw its storybook season draw to a close on Saturday with a hard-fought 17-9 loss against No. 9 Cabrini in the NCAA Third Round at Tylus Field.
The Diplomats' year concluded with a remarkable 16-3 record, setting a program mark for wins in a season. The Cavaliers advanced to Wednesday's Elite Eight matchup to take on No. 1 Salisbury.
Cabrini jumped out in front with a quick 5-1 edge just nine minutes into the opening quarter. Harry Rice stopped the bleeding with an unassisted tally at 2:57, his second goal of the game, before Kevin Mollihan followed with a marker on the man-up advantage a minute later, as F&M wrapped up the first quarter down by just two.
The score by Mollihan was the 63rd of his freshman campaign, tying the program's single-season record which was set by Chris Mergardt in 1995.
In the second quarter, the Cavaliers answered with three straight to take the 8-3 advantage, but back-to-back goals from Sean Rogers, each assisted by Tucker McBride, once again kept the Diplomats within three goals. Cabrini rebounded with a back-breaking tally at the tail end of the half, notching a goal with just two seconds remaining on the clock.
Each team traded markers in the opening minutes of the third, but Cabrini closed out the frame with five consecutive goals to take the commanding 15-6 lead into the final period. The Diplomats had one last run in them, scoring three consecutive goals to begin the fourth and cut the deficit to six.
Rogers tallied two unassisted in the spree to bookend Rice's goal that was courtesy of a George Briggs feed. However, it was too little, too late as Cabrini notched the final two tallies of the game to advance to the next round of NCAA competition.
Rogers finished with four goals and an assist, Rice registered three goals, while T. McBride and Briggs each were credited with a pair of assists.
Hatch (16-3) suffered the loss in cage after picking up eight saves. Matt Nestler secured the win with seven saves.
F&M will remember 2017 fondly after winning the program's first-ever Centennial Conference (CC) Title and the first Conference Championship since capturing the MAC in 1990. The Diplomats earned an automatic NCAA bid and won their first Tournament game since 2003, after knocking off Elizabethtown on Wednesday and head into next season with five All-CC members returning to the team, including the CC Player of the Year and CC Rookie of the Year.