SWARTHMORE, Pa. - Bethany Vincent buried the game-winner with less than three minutes remaining to propel No. 7 Franklin & Marshall to a 3-2 victory over Swarthmore in the Centennial Conference (CC) opener for both squads on Wednesday afternoon.
The Diplomats remain perfect on the year at 5-0, 1-0 CC with the triumph, while the Garnet fall to 2-5, 0-1 CC.
Katie Cecere started the scoring for the Diplomats in the 13th minute, tallying an unassisted goal to put F&M up 1-0 in the early-going.
The Diplomats bombarded the Garnet with shots in the first half, outshooting the hosts 14-1, but Swarthmore hung around just enough to make things interesting. F&M held Swarthmore without a shot for nearly the entire first half, but the Garnet made the most of their one scoring opportunity in the 24th minute. Abigail Lauder played a penalty corner to Aarti Rao at the center of the circle, and Rao fired it into the goal to even the contest at 1-1.
Lauren Eastman found the back of the cage for F&M in the 30th minute, unassisted, to put the Diplomats back on top heading into the halftime break. Clare Wirth's penalty corner set up several chances for F&M around the cage, and Eastman stuffed it to the left side.
Neither side managed to put any shots on the cage for much of the second half, before Rao came through again for the Garnet in the 55th minute. Lauder's corner initiated the score once again, as Rao collected the ball directly off the corner and blasted it from the top of the circle to even things up at 2-2.
The Diplomats pressured the Swarthmore defense down the stretch, earning four penalty corners in the span of just three minutes as time winded down. In the 68th minute, F&M made one of those corners count as Maria Guarisco slid a pass to her left that found Vincent, and the senior defender blasted it home from the left side for the game-winner. The score marked Vincent's second tally of her career and first since her freshman season in 2010.
Goalkeeper Avery Koep (4-0) turned away one shot in the victory, while Swarthmore's Gabby Capone totaled four saves in a losing effort.
F&M returns to CC action on Saturday at Ursinus at 12:00 p.m.