LANCASTER, Pa. – For the fourth consecutive game to open the 2015 season, the No. 12 Franklin & Marshall soccer team shutdown the opposing team's offense, this time blanking Houghton by a 3-0 score on Friday evening at Tylus Field.
The Diplomats improved to 4-0 on the year, while the Highlanders evened their record at 2-2.
Just 10 minutes ticked off the clock before F&M managed to light the scoreboard, when freshman forward Ugo Okolie once again displayed his impressive footwork. Okolie took the ball down the left sideline, beat his defender and cut in along the endline, before tallying his second goal of the season to make it 1-0.
After maintaining the narrow lead heading out of the break, Okolie nearly added to F&M's total in the 51st minute. Jason Tonelli placed a drop pass just outside the box to Okolie, who worked his way around Houghton's goalkeeper and had an open look on net, but fired just wide.
Conor Pellas extended the lead in the 73rd minute, sending a rocket on net from the top-right of the box that found the top-left of the goal to make it 2-0. With just four minutes remaining, the Highlanders' Andrew Bussey broke through F&M's defense and looked to notch Houghton's first score of the game with a strong look on net, however Vince Perry used a well-time slide tackle to break up the play.
In the 87th minute, the Diplomats put the exclamation point on a lopsided victory when a long pass from Matthew Regueiro just past midfield, was deflected by Dave Martin in front of the 'keeper, who just got enough of the ball to send it into the back of the net for his first tally of the season.
Shots favored F&M at 14-8, including a 7-1 edge in the second half. The Diplomats dominated corners at 7-1 and allowed just one shot to reach goalkeeper Trevor Britton (4-0), who earned his third shutout of the year.
Action continues tomorrow at home when Randolph heads to Lancaster for a 7:00 p.m. showdown.