LANCASTER, Pa. – Sydney Cole's golden goal in the third minute of overtime propelled No. 8 Franklin & Marshall to a 1-0 victory over No. 5 TCNJ on Saturday afternoon in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division III Field Hockey Tournament. With the victory, F&M improved its record to 16-4 and advanced to its first Elite Eight since 1992, where the Diplomats will face the hosts No. 7 Babson at 1:00 p.m.
Seventy minutes of scoreless field hockey led F&M and TCNJ into the first two 15-minute, 7-on-7 overtime periods to be decided by a golden goal. The Lions had the first chance at sudden death victory, but Jaclyn Douglas had her effort on goal saved by Diplomat goalkeeper Ilianna Santangelo. F&M had the next opportunity, and did not waste it, as Cole tallied her eighth goal of the season to seal the victory for the Diplomats.
The late drama was set up by a feisty and defensive first half. Three green cards were given out between the two teams, and only three total shots were attempted (two for F&M, one for TCNJ). F&M's Nicole Bodo had the best opportunity of the half in the 28th, as her shot made its way past Lions goalie Christina Fabiano but was thwarted by a defensive save from Shannon Cowles.
At halftime, the score remained 0-0 despite a 2-1 edge in shots and a 3-0 advantage in corners for the Diplomats.
F&M was fortunate to make it into overtime as defensive heroics were required from the defense in the second half. In the space of 10 minutes, TCNJ hit a post, forced a dramatic defensive save from Sarah Schannauer on the goal line, and drew a save from Santangelo. The Diplomats fired back with a corner and a goal of their own in the last 10 minutes, but were unable to convert, sending the game into overtime.
A 6-5 lead in shots for TCNJ and a 4-1 edge in corners for F&M at the end of regulation exemplified what had been a tight game throughout.
Erin Coverdale's two shots led the offense on the day. Santangelo (16-4) made four saves in her eighth shutout of the season.
The Diplomats return to Babson tomorrow to take on the host Beavers in the Elite Eight at 1:00 p.m., looking to reach the program's first Final Four since 1983.