WELLESLEY, Mass. – Franklin & Marshall fell prey to a 64th minute goal from Babson, dropping a hard-fought 1-0 decision to the host Beavers in the NCAA Elite Eight. The No. 8 Diplomats ended the year at 16-5 after advancing to the program's first quarterfinal appearance since 1992.
Ashley Tango struck after Babson earned its sixth corner of the game, taking a pass from Lauren Drakeley and shooting from near the top of the circle into the bottom-left corner of the cage. The goal came after a hotly-contested period of play saw F&M goalkeeper Ilianna Santangelo make two diving saves to keep the score knotted at 0-0.
The Diplomats were unfortunate to enter halftime without a lead after controlling the majority of the opening half. Two shots from Annie Horsley skirted just wide of the left post as F&M looked dangerous in the early minutes. The pressure continued as Erin Coverdale forced Babson goalie Deirdre Barry to make a good save in the 25th minute, but it was Sydney Cole that had F&M's best opportunity of the day 29th minute. The junior forward managed to get a shot past Barry, but Nicole Smith was there for the Beavers to make the goal line save.
Babson produced some offensive pressure in the 34th minute, with Santangelo making her first save of the day on a close-range effort from Jacki Merrigan. Still, the Diplomats carried a 5-2 lead in shots and a 3-2 edge in corners into the break.
F&M continued to press early in the second, winning the first corners of the half in the 41st and 44th minutes. The Diplomats were unable to convert, setting the stage for the tight finish.
The Beavers ended up with a 10-6 lead in shots and a slim 6-5 edge in penalty corners after 70 minutes of action.
Cole and Horsley both attempted two shots to lead the offense, while Santangelo (16-5) recorded three saves to back up the defense.