LANCASTER, Pa. - An own goal in the game's 103rd minute gave Franklin & Marshall's No. 17 ranked men's soccer team a thrilling 2-1 2OT victory over Western Connecticut St. on Saturday evening at Tylus Field.
The Diplomats improved to 14-3-3 with the win while the Colonials' season came to an end at 17-4-3. F&M is set to take on the winner of Eastern and No. 12 Mary Washington in tomorrow's NCAA Second Round in Lancaster. Game time is set for 5:00 p.m. Stay tuned to GoDiplomats.com for more information as it becomes available.
Knotted at 1-1 in the second overtime stanza, a Steven Yakita freekick from the nearside of the field was sent into the box and bounced off the head of a Western Connecticut defender's head in a failed clear attempt. The ball shot back toward the net and found a home in the bottom right corner for an F&M own goal that ended the game.
F&M's attack was active from the opening whistle of regulation, nearly tallying a marker in the first minute of play. Western Connecticut's goalkeeper punched out a Diplomat cross that was then fired in on net by J.T. Mogan - but the attempt was also stopped with a timely, sliding save.
In the 28th minute, F&M was rewarded for their tenacious offensive play when Alex Lalovic sent a short pass to Robert Maze in the middle of the box, who fought off a defender with a spin-around shot that made it a 1-0 game.
The Colonials nearly responded in the 36th with a close-range shot that slammed off the left post and back into play. Western Connecticut had a chance for the rebound opportunity with a low shot to the far post, but Diplomat goalkeeper Christopher Amoruso was there with a diving save - getting a foot on the ball and sending it wide to safety.
Each team traded blows in the final minutes of the first half but neither was able to light the scoreboard heading into the break. F&M led in shots by an 11-6 margin after the first 45 minutes of play, while the Diplomats also held the advantage on corners at 3-1.
In the second half, the game's pace slowed down as neither team grabbed control in the early going. The Colonials nearly notched the equalizer in the 73rd when Mikey Sciortino fired a shot from 15 yards out, but Amoruso was there with a diving save to his right.
The game appeared over but with just :29 seconds remaining, Western Connecticut fought back to tie the score and force overtime. A short cross along the endline was headed into the back of the net by Afa Reyes for the improbable equalizer.
Five minutes into the first overtime, the Colonials had a golden chance to take the game when Harrison Allers hooked a shot from 10 yards out that appeared destined for the far post but Amoruso once again came up big with a sprawling stop.
The final shot count belonged to Western Connecticut St. at 22-18, including a 7-2 edge in the extra minutes. Corners belonged to the Diplomats by a narrow 4-3 margin for the game. Jim Connolly led the offense with four shots, followed by Yakita with three.
Amoruso (8-3-3) earned the win with a season-high 11 saves, while Daniel Szabo (11-2-2) suffered the hard-luck loss despite a seven-save effort.