Diplomats March into CC Final

Diplomats March into CC Final

Box Score 

BALTIMORE, Md. – A 51st-minute Jason Tonelli score and a standout performance in net by Christopher Amoruso keyed a hard-fought 1-0 win by Franklin & Marshall's men's soccer team against Gettysburg in the Centennial Conference (CC) Semifinal on Friday in Baltimore.

The Diplomats improved to 10-5-2 with the win while the Bullets dropped to 13-5. 

With the victory, F&M advanced to Sunday's CC Final for the second straight year and will battle No. 5 seeded Dickinson at 1:00 p.m. The Red Devils toppled top-seeded Johns Hopkins in PK's earlier in the day. The contest will serve as a rematch of the 2013 CC Championship game, which resulted in a 2-1 2OT victory for the Diplomats.

Following even play in the opening minutes of the first, F&M's offense, who scored 10 goals in its last two contests, took control. In the 13th minute, Connor Whitacre nearly got the Diplomats on the scoreboard, cutting into the box off an F&M corner and firing a point-blank shot that careened off the Gettysburg goalkeeper. 

Three minutes later, a well-placed chip pass led to Jason Tonelli breaking behind the defense and going a one-on-one with the Bullet goalie from 25 yards out. The senior forward attempted to loft a shot past the Bullet's oncoming 'keeper but saw his attempt deflected high of the crossbar.

Momentum swung back to Gettysburg's favor in the closing portion of the frame. In the 32nd minute, the Bullets had their best chance of the half with a look from just inside the box, but goalkeeper Christopher Amoruso rushed out of the crease, got his hand on a high attempt and then recovered before Gettysburg could fire a rebound shot on net. 

Following the break, Tonelli finally got F&M on the scoreboard in the 51st minute with his 11th of the season. Ryan Fincher kick-started the play by blowing through the middle of the Gettysburg defense and sliding a short pass to Tonelli, who flicked a right-footed strike into the lower-left corner. 

The ensuing minutes saw Bullets respond with an offensive charge that led to a pair of team saves from the Diplomat defense, as well as a Gettysburg opportunity that slammed off the crossbar.

However, F&M weathered the Gettysburg second-half surge with timely defensive efforts to complete the shutout effort. 

Amoruso (7-1-1) won nearly every jump ball in the box with his sound, aggressive play on the evening. The sophomore goalkeeper picked up four saves for his fourth shutout of the season and third straight. 

The final shot count favored Gettysburg at 18-10, including a 12-3 edge in the final frame. Corners were closer at 6-4 for the Bullets. 

For the second time this season, F&M held the Conference's leading-scorer Patrick Santini scoreless. He entered the contest with 20 goals. 

Tonelli led the F&M offense with three shots, followed by two apiece from Ben Draheim and Connor Whitacre.