HOBOKEN, N.J. - A.J. Kopacz's 61st-minute score provided Franklin & Marshall's No. 16 ranked men's soccer team all the ammunition it needed for a convincing 1-0 shutout on the road against No. 21 Stevens Tuesday evening.
The win improved the Diplomats to 10-1-2 on the year and dealt the Ducks (11-2-1) their first loss in Stevens' last 10 contests.
Neither team managed to light the scoreboard through the opening 45 minutes of play, but F&M survived a scare in the 21st minute when the Ducks' Cristiano Hocken careened an attempt off the crossbar.
In the closing minutes of the frame, Jack Brandt fired off a pair of chances that both missed wide to send the teams into the break knotted at 0-0. Shots favored Stevens at 8-4, while corners belonged to the Diplomats by a 5-3 margin.
F&M goalkeeper Christopher Amoruso was active in the early going of the second and was forced to make back-to-back saves in the 48th minute.
In the 60th, the Diplomats' attack finally broke through when Ugo Okolie collected the ball following a turnover around midfield and sprinted deep into F&M's offensive third. The Diplomats' forward slammed on the breaks outside of the six-yard box and lofted a short cross that was headed into the top right of the goal by Kopacz for the 1-0 lead. The score was the third in the last two games from the first-year player and he now leads the team with six goals.
Stevens countered with a flurry of shots over the next 20 minutes, but Amoruso and the Diplomat backline limited quality scoring chances and allowed F&M to hold on for the win.
Amoruso improved to 7-1-2 with a six-save effort, including five in the second half. The shutout was his fifth of the season and second in a row for the junior netminder. Stevens' Aaron Henry (9-2-1) recorded two saves in the loss.
The overall shot count was 17-7 in favor of Stevens, as well as corners at 9-5. Brandt led the Diplomat offense with two shots.
F&M aims to carry the momentum into Saturday's key Centennial Conference (CC) tilt against Johns Hopkins. Action is set to begin at 1:00 p.m. in Baltimore.