Diplomats’ Defense Keys Shutout Win

Diplomats’ Defense Keys Shutout Win

LANCASTER, Pa. - Franklin & Marshall's men's soccer team continued its strong early-season play with a commanding 2-0 victory over Whitworth on Monday evening in Lancaster. 

The Diplomats improved to 2-0 while the Pirates remained winless at 0-3. 

Each team traded scoring chances in the early going before F&M gained control and forced a Whitworth turnover deep in its defensive third in the 27th minute. The Diplomats made the Pirates pay for the mistake with a series of strong passes that led to an Alex Lalovic goal after Robert Maze found Jim Connolly along the end line. 

The senior forward collected the ball and slid a short through pass in the box to Lalovic, who chipped in the shot from five yards out.

F&M tacked on in the 34th minute off a set piece near midfield. Connolly was once again in on the action, twirling the free kick into the box, which was headed into the bottom-right corner of the net by A.J. Kopacz. The goal marked the first of the first-year defender's career. 

Heading into the break, F&M was dominating the shot count by a 10-3 margin, while the Diplomats also led on corners at 5-2. 

The second half saw F&M continue to control the pace and keep the momentum on its side by winning the possession battle throughout.

With nine minutes remaining in regulation, a long Whitworth cross from the far side led to the Pirates' best scoring chance of the night with a point-blank shot from five yards out. However, F&M goalkeeper Christopher Amoruso made a diving stop to his right that preserved the shutout.

The Diplomats' defense was suffocating during the 90 minutes of play, allowing just two shots on goal. Amoruso captured his first win of the season, while Whitworth's Jimmy Choi (0-1) took the loss after allowing two goals and recording four saves.

Overall, shots belonged to the Diplomats at 26-6 and corners at 9-3. Connolly led the offense with six shots, including four on goal. Lalovic, Kopacz, and Ryan Hannum each followed with four shots.­

Non-conference action continues for the Diplomats on Saturday when F&M hosts No. 14 Washington & Lee for a 1:00 p.m. contest in Lancaster.