LANCASTER, Pa. - A game-tying goal in the final seconds of regulation was followed with an early overtime tally as Franklin & Marshall's No. 12 field hockey team dropped a 2-1 heartbreaker against No. 2 Messiah late Wednesday evening in Lancaster.
The Diplomats fell to 7-2 on the season, while the defending National-Finalist Falcons remained unbeaten at 8-0.
F&M had Messiah on the ropes with a 1-0 lead and just 36 seconds remaining in the game. However, the Falcons continued to fight and forced a late penalty corner. The Falcons sent a shot on cage that was turned back by goalkeeper Ilianna Santangelo, but Messiah's Hannah Palm was there for the rebound score to force overtime.
In the extra stanza, the Falcons continued with the momentum and needed just 30 seconds to fire off the winning goal. Megan Wetzel slid down the end line behind F&M's defense and sent a chip shot past Santangelo for the improbable come-from-behind Messiah victory.
The Diplomats were in control throughout the beginning of regulation and held the 1-0 edge off an 18th-minute goal by Phoebe Wood in the opening half. Caitlin Morrissey got the play started with a cross to the right side of the circle and Wood was there to hit the ball into the lower-right corner.
Shots belonged to Messiah at 11-4 on the night, as well as penalty corners at 6-2. Emily Nagle led the Diplomat effort with two shots.
Santangelo (7-2) suffered the hard-luck loss despite a five-save performance, while the Falcons' Shelby Landes improved to a perfect 8-0 after recording one save.
The Diplomats aim to get back on track this Saturday, hosting Centennial-opponent Swarthmore for a 12:00 p.m. tilt.