F&M in the NCAA Tournament: Franklin & Marshall is in the NCAA postseason for the eighth time in the history of the program and the fifth consecutive year. Since tournament play began in 1974, F&M has reached as high as the Elite Eight in both 2013 and 2016, while holding an 11-7 overall record in tournament competition.
Diplomats are in search of their second National Championship, previously earning the title in 1952. At that time, all 312 colleges and universities that competed in intercollegiate soccer were considered part of one division. There were no playoffs to determine a national champion. Therefore, coaches essentially crowned the 9-0 Diplomats after their perfect season.
For four straight years, F&M has won its opening two games of the tournament, last season blanking Geneva by a 1-0 score and W&L by a 2-0 tally, before reaching the Elite Eight with a 1-0 win over Cortland.
Among the Elites: The Diplomats are one of just five programs in the country to advance to four straight Sweet 16's, joining Trinity (Texas), Kenyon, Amherst and Brandeis. The four other programs are once again in this year's field of teams.
How F&M Got Here: F&M went 2-0 at last weekend's Centennial Conference (CC) Tournament, including a 1-0 shutout against Dickinson in the CC Final to clinch the program's second Centennial Crown and an automatic berth into the NCAA Playoffs.
Purchase Conference Championship Gear: Celebrate the 2017 Centennial Conference (CC) Men's Soccer Title for Franklin & Marshall with some Championship gear at DiplomatsGear.com.
A Look at the Pod: The Diplomats open against Drew, who earned its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2008 with a 3-1 win over Elizabethtown in the Landmark Championship. Saturday's game marks the third all-time meeting and first since 1996.
Lycoming stunned No. 1 Messiah by a 2-1 tally in the MAC Commonwealth Championship to garner an automatic NCAA bid. The Title was the third in the last five years for the Warriors, who are led by six First Team All-MAC Commonwealth selections.
Lehman, who hails from Bronx, N.Y., earned the City University of New York Athletic Conference Championship with a 3-1 win over John Jay to land the automatic qualifier. The Lightning are making their third appearance in the NCAA Tournament and second straight after dropping a First Round match to Rowan last season.
Ticket Prices: Tickets will cost $6 for adults, $3 for students and senior citizens, while children ages 3-12 will cost $2.
All-CC: Five members of the Diplomats were named to the 2017 All-Centennial Conference (CC) Team. Jason Tonelli and Wyatt Fabian landed on the First Team, Ben Draheim garnered Second Team accolades, while Ryan Fincher and Ryan Corr each received Honorable Mention recognition.
Offensive Onslaught: F&M has scored five goals on three occasions in 2017, including a streak of two straight to end the regular season. All of the wins were 5-0 victories and included commanding performances against Ursinus (Oct. 7), Washington (Oct. 21) and McDaniel (Oct. 28).
Before those offensive outbursts, the Diplomats last scorched an opponent for five tallies back on Nov. 15, 2015 when F&M downed Babson by a 5-1 mark in the NCAA Second Round.
Heating Up: Following a rocky start to the season, the Diplomats are in the midst of playing their best stretch of soccer with a 7-0-1 record in their last eight games. The Diplomats are outscoring their opponents by a 22-3 margin during that time.
A Look at the Polls: F&M enters the 2017 NCAA Tournament as the No. 4 team in the Mid-Atlantic region, jumping five spots from the previous poll. The Diplomats also climbed their way back into the national conversation after receiving a pair of votes in the D3soccer.com top-25 ranking.
Among the Leaders (NCAA): As a team, F&M ranks seventh among all DIII institutions in corner kick opportunities per game with an average of 7.56.
Amoruso is among the leaders in save percentage, placing fourth at .907 percent while ranking seventh with a 0.423 goals against average mark.
Among the Leaders (CC): Jim Connolly's nine assists place him tied for first among CC men's soccer players, while teammates Draheim and Fincher are close behind in fourth and fifth with seven and six assists, respectively. Tonelli's 11 goals are good for fifth, while his 22 points rank fifth.
Record Book Watch: Tonelli has 13 game-winning goals in his career, a mark that is good for second in program history. Ben Beaver '13 leads the way with 20. The senior forward also has 28 career goals, which places him in a tie for seventh on the all-time list, while his 59 career points stand alone in ninth. Beaver tops each category with 47 and 104, respectively.
Ben Draheim is closing in on the program record for most games played, entering the NCAA Tournament with 81 career appearances to place second. Devon Malfitano '15 holds the record with 82.