OWINGS MILLS, Md. - Franklin & Marshall's No. 14 ranked men's lacrosse team battled throughout but eventually fell in a tough 15-12 loss to No. 10 Denison on the final day of the 2019 Mustang Classic, hosted by Stevenson.
The Diplomats dropped to 4-3 on the year, while the Big Red improved to 4-2.
An unassisted Denison goal just a little over a minute into the first quarter put F&M in an early 1-0 deficit. Junior attacker Kevin Mollihan evened the game of a solo score with 12:07 remaining in the first but the Big Red fired back with two in a row and held the Diplomats scoreless for more than 12 minutes with the 3-1 lead.
Mollihan provided a clutch tally with only four seconds remaining in the first to pull F&M within one after 15 minutes of action. The Big Red notched the next two in the frame to make it a 5-2 game, but Luke Keating scored twice in the final seven minutes of the period to send the Diplomats into the halftime breaking trailing by just two at 6-4.
Each team traded goals in the opening minutes of the third with Blake Target taking a Keating feed with 10:59 remaining to make it 7-5. Denison rattled off the next three before Mollihan registered a goal on the man advantage with 2:19 to go, and Jarrett Donaghy capitalized on a Keating feed a minute later to make the score 10-7.
The Big Red scored in the final seconds of the quarter and tallied the first score of the fourth to extend their advantage to five at 12-7. Keating and Mollihan followed with unassisted markers to pull within three, but Denison sealed the win by going on a three-goal run that kept F&M off the scoreboard for more than six minutes of play.
Three Diplomat goals in the final minute of action, including two more from Mollihan, allowed F&M to end on a positive note.
Mollihan was relentless with six goals, one assist, and three caused turnovers on the day. Keating scored four times and assisted on two more, while George Briggs was credited with a pair of assists.
Scott Hatch (4-3) stopped five shots while Denison's Reeves McKenney (4-2) tallied 15 saves.
F&M led in shots at 47-43, including a 17-7 margin in the fourth quarter. The Diplomats committed just nine turnovers, compared to 20 from the Big Red and held Denison to an 0-for-8 mark on man-up opportunities.
Centennial Conference (CC) competition opens next Saturday, March 23 when F&M travels to Swarthmore for a 3:00 p.m. contest.