COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – Emily Nagle and Erin Coverdale teamed up for three of F&M's four goals on Saturday afternoon in the second semifinal of the Centennial Conference (CC) Field Hockey Tournament, fueling a 4-1 victory over Muhlenberg. The win improves the Diplomats' record to 14-3 on the season, and sets up a showdown with Ursinus in the conference final for the fourth consecutive season.
Nagle started the scoring in the 25th minute, taking a pass from Coverdale and finding the left side of the cage following a swift counterattack from F&M. The goal gave the Diplomats a deserved 1-0 lead as F&M attempted eight shots to Muhlenberg's one in the opening 25 minutes.
The pressure continued for the Diplomats, with Coverdale forcing a good save from Mules goalkeeper Emma Rosenthal after unleashing a shot from a tight angle. But despite leading the shot count 11-1 and the corner count 6-0, F&M entered halftime with just a one-goal lead.
The Diplomats extended that advantage to 2-0 just 100 seconds into the second half, with Nagle again providing the finishing touch to Coverdale's assist. Coverdale flashed a pass in front of the cage and found Nagle at the left post, where the sophomore notched her second goal of the game and seventh of the season.
The Mules cut that deficit to 2-1 in the 56th, earning a penalty stroke on one of their few forays into the Diplomat circle. F&M goalkeeper Ilianna Santangelo saved the first effort, but a second attempt was awarded due to a violation, and Muhlenberg's Emily Boyle converted to halve the lead.
The Mules continued to push forward, but a pair of strong defensive plays from Bridget Falcone and Sarah Schannauer kept the scored locked at 2-1. Sydney Cole took the drama out of the remaining moments in the 64th minute, chasing down a long through ball and hammering a shot into the far left post to extend the edge to 3-1.
Three minutes later Coverdale and Nagle again combined for a score, icing the game with a 4-1 lead. This time Nagle was the distributor, sending a pass from the left baseline back to Coverdale, who struck from close range for her ninth tally of the campaign.
The statistics supported F&M's three-goal victory, as the Diplomats outshot the Mules 17-6 and owned a 9-1 advantage in corners.
Santangelo (14-3) was strong in net, recording four saves to earn the win.
The Diplomats return to Collegeville tomorrow for the conference final against Ursinus, who defeated Dickinson 5-2 in the first semifinal of the day. The final is scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m.