Diplomats Bash Bullets; Secure Top Seed

Diplomats Bash Bullets; Secure Top Seed

LANCASTER, Pa. – A strong performance in a rain-soaked contest ensured that the Centennial Conference (CC) field hockey tournament will run through Lancaster for the fourth time in five years as No. 4 Franklin & Marshall downed Gettysburg by a 5-1 score on Wednesday evening. 

The Diplomats locked up the top seed for the conference playoffs with one game remaining in the regular season and improved to 14-2, 9-0 CC, while the Bullets fell to 6-9, 2-6 CC. 

Despite a lopsided final score, the match was close in the early going as steady offensive pressure from Gettysburg led to a Bullets' goal in the sixth minute of play. Following a foul underneath in the 11th, Anne Horsley evened the game at 1-1 after finding the back of the cage off a penalty stroke opportunity. 

F&M seized the momentum for good in the 20th minute when a Sydney Cole shot at the top right of the circle was deflected down low by Lauren Eastman, her fifth of the season, giving the Diplomats a 2-1 edge heading into the break. 

It was all F&M in the second half. The Diplomats began the stanza with five penalty corners in the opening eight minutes, controlling possession from the onset. Another penalty stroke opportunity in the 46th minute allowed F&M to extend its lead. Paige Notarianni registered her second of the season by taking advantage of the chance, putting the Diplomats ahead by a 3-1 tally. 

A Mary Kate Olson score off a Clare Wirth corner in the 51st minute and an unassisted marker from Maria Guarisco, her team-leading 14th of the season in the 65th minute, rounded out the Diplomats' scoring. 

Shots were close through 35 minutes, with F&M leading at 7-4. However, the Diplomats held a staggering 25-0 edge in the second. Corners were also in F&M's favor at 18-2 and were 14-0 in the final half of action. Guarisco recorded nine shots on the evening, followed by seven from Horsley and three each from Olson, Eastman and Cole.

Goalkeeper Ilianna Santangelo (10-1) stopped one shot for the win, while Gettysburg's Haley Mowery (6-9) was charged with the loss despite 15 saves. 

The Diplomats are set to celebrate senior day on Saturday when F&M wraps up the regular season at home against Dickinson. Game time is set for 1:00 p.m.