LANCASTER, Pa. – Fresh off the program's second-ever Centennial Championship and an unprecedented fifth-consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament, Franklin & Marshall's men's soccer team heads into 2018 with an eye on maintaining its regional and national dominance.
During that NCAA run, the Diplomats were one of only five teams in the country to advance to four-consecutive Sweet 16s, while F&M reached the Elite Eight on two occasions.
To watch the season preview video, featuring head coach Dan Wagner, click here.
Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018
F&M vs. Lebanon Valley | Lancaster | 4:00 PM
Series Record: F&M Leads 29-1-1
Streak: F&M +15
Last F&M Victory: 2-0, Sept. 1, 2015
Last LVC Victory: 1-0, Oct. 10, 1989
Video | Live Stats
Eleven players with five or more starts in 2017 return to form a deep and talented 2018 squad. The strong group of returners is joined by a trio of top upperclassman who missed all of last season due to injury, including 2016 All-American forward Ugo Okolie – who enters the year with 33 career points (9 G, 15 A). Joining the program is one of largest first-year classes in Wagner's tenure as 14 new members are being welcomed into the fold.
F&M graduated a seven-member senior class that competed in the NCAA Tournament all four years at the College. The Diplomats will need to replace the production and leadership of six key starters, including forward Jason Tonelli - who totaled a team-leading 11 goals – and All-American defender Wyatt Fabian.
To watch the 2018 video roster, click here.
Players to Watch
Bilodeau (All-CC Honorable Mention-2016), Maze (9 goals-2016) and Okolie (3 G, 9 A-2016) each return from an injury-plagued 2017 season to help provide production to the 2018 team.
Fincher (8 assists) and Corr (15 starts) were All-CC Honorable Mention recipients last season, while Connolly (team-leading 9 assists) and Niggeman (13 starts) are vital senior contributors. Amoruso carried the Diplomats in net through the second half of last season and was named the CC Tournament MVP after a seven-save effort in the Final against Dickinson.
CC Preseason Poll
The defending-CC Champion Diplomats were slated to finish second in the Conference Preseason poll of Conference coaches. F&M received 72 votes, ahead of Dickinson and Gettysburg who tied for third with 60 points each. Johns Hopkins, who failed to advance past the CC Semifinals last season, garnered all eight first-place votes and accumulated 80 points to place first.
The complete CC Preseason poll can be viewed here.
The Road Ahead
Following a four-game homestand at Tylus Field, the Diplomats take to the road for the annual Smith-Herr Boot Game against Elizabethtown on Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 7:30 p.m. Centennial play begins in Allentown against Muhlenberg (Sept. 15), while the First Round of the CC Playoffs are set for Wednesday, Oct. 31 with the Championship on Sunday, Nov. 4.
After reaching the NCAA Tournament for the fifth straight time in 2017, the Diplomats will look for a return to the Postseason which begins with the First Round on Saturday, Nov. 10 and culminates with the National Championship on Saturday, Dec. 1 in Greensboro, N.C.
Record Book Watch
Okolie enters the year with 15 career assists, a mark which places ninth on the F&M career list. Brandon Corday '07 leads the program with 25. Fincher is close behind in 12th place with 14 helpers in his career.
Centennial Conference Digital Network (CCDN)
The Centennial Conference announced a partnership with Stretch Internet to become the conference's digital network provider and establish a central location for all CC athletic events. Broadcasts that are present in the Stretch portal are exclusively produced by each of the 11-member institutions of the conference.
In addition to its Roku channel, the Conference has three new over-the-top (OTT) applications to make broadcasts available – Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Android TV. Home broadcasts that are produced by all 11 members will be available on CentennialConference.TV and the OTT apps.
Follow Along (Social Media)
All of your favorite Diplomat athletic teams are available on social media. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram, like them on Facebook and subscribe to the Diplomats YouTube page for frequent highlight videos of games throughout the season.