LANCASTER, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall tallied a pair of first-half scores and held off a late Swarthmore charge to capture a 2-1 victory in the Centennial Conference (CC) opener for both sides on Sunday afternoon at Tylus Field.
The Diplomats (3-1-1, 1-0 CC) took control of the contest in the early-going, outshooting the Garnet (4-2, 0-1 CC) by a 7-0 count in the opening 25 minutes of play. In the 22nd minute, Alexa Yarish made a nice run down the left side and ripped a hard, low shot towards the far post, but a diving save by Swarthmore goalkeeper Reba Magier kept the game scoreless.
In the 28th minute, Swarthmore nearly grabbed the lead as Ellen Bachmannhuff played a perfect through-ball to Caroline Khanna, who one-timed a blast towards net that struck the crossbar and bounced out of the bounds, keeping the count at 0-0.
With just over 13 minutes remaining the opening half, the Diplomats found the back of the net on well-timed run from Nicole Rynecki into the box and a pin-point cross from Allyson Reid. Dribbling down the left side, Reid sent a cross into the center of the box, where Rynecki pounced forward and headed it into the near post for the 1-0 F&M edge.
Eight minutes later, Rynecki delivered once again, this time on a beautiful combination play with Selena Boro. Rynecki played Boro on the left side about 12 yards from goal, Boro slid it right back to Rynecki for the give-and-go, and the junior midfielder nestled her shot on the ground into the far netting to give the Diplomats a 2-0 lead heading into the intermission.
Swarthmore had a pair of golden opportunities to cut the deficit in half early in the second frame, but F&M goalkeeper Amanda McGowan thwarted both tries with diving saves. In the 46th minute, Emily Gale's shot deflected off an F&M defender and nearly crossed the goal line, but McGowan corralled the ball just in time to prevent the score. Several minutes later, McGowan punched a Emma Sindelar shot wide with a sprawling stop to her left to maintain the Diplomats two-goal cushion.
F&M controlled much of the possession for the rest of the second half, but the Garnet wouldn't go away easily as they pulled within 2-1 in the 80th minute, making for an exciting finish. Sindelar set up the Swarthmore score, playing the ball from the left side back to Megan Brock in the center of the box, and Brock turned and fired a strike to the far post to make it 2-1.
The Garnet nearly registered the equalizer in the 84th minute as Miranda Saldivar ran onto a long ball played over top of the F&M defense and found herself one-on-one with McGowan, but her lofted shot sailed just over the crossbar and the Diplomats escaped with the 2-1 victory.
McGowan totaled four saves in the win for F&M, while Magier notched six saves in a losing effort.
The Diplomats outshot the Garnet by an 11-10 count, while Swarthmore held a 3-0 edge in corner kicks.
F&M returns to action on Saturday at Ursinus. The CC contest is set for 6:30 p.m. in Collegeville, Pa.