Diplomats Cruise into Elite Eight with Victory over No. 9 Tufts

Diplomats Cruise into Elite Eight with Victory over No. 9 Tufts

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LANCASTER, Pa – No. 3 Franklin & Marshall advanced to the its ninth Elite Eight in program history with a 17-8 victory over No. 9 Tufts in the NCAA Women's Lacrosse Regional Semifinals Saturday afternoon at Tylus Field. The Diplomats (19-2) will take on the winner of Washington & Lee and Fredonia State tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 p.m. with the winner advancing to next weekend's Final Four.

You can watch highlights from the game by clicking here.

Anastasia Mergner set the tone early for F&M with a dominant performance at the draw circle, and the Diplomats capitalized with an early 6-0 lead in the opening 11 minutes of the contest. Gabby Frank found Brittney Jorgenson a minute into the game for the first tally and Grace Saliba fed Paige Moriarty at 27:56. Emily Everdell and Megan Kelly scored on back-to-back free position shots, before Casey Madden found Saliba at 21:05 to make it 5-0.

Natalie Delinsky made it 6-0 and the Jumbos (12-7) managed their first score at 17:26 to make it 6-1. Jorgenson netted two straight on feeds from Moriarty and Delinsky, and Jenn Duffy put one through for Tufts to make it 8-2 with 8:18 left in the first. Frank and Madden hooked up at 5:45 and the Jumbos answered with two straight to make it 9-4 at the break.

Bridgid Bowser brought Tufts within four, 9-5, early in the second before the Diplomats countered with four straight and went up 13-5. Moriarty started the run at 20:24 and Jorgenson scored two in a row off feeds from Saliba and Samantha Blicht. Saliba found Moriarty to end the run before Kali DiGate struck for Tufts to make it 15-7.

Frank buried a feed from Jorgenson to put F&M up 14-6 and Kimberly Abruzzo scored three goals for the Diplomats in a three-minute span for a 17-7 F&M lead, with Mergner and Freud assisting on two of the goals. Tufts snuck one through with 10 ticks on the clock for the final tally of the contest.

Defensively, Caroline Doran was key for the Diplomats as she was tasked with guarding Tufts' First Team All-American Caroline Ross. Ross came into the contest with 75 points and Doran held her off the board and did not let her fire a shot.

Blicht caused three turnovers and Moriarty caused two to help out on defense. Vanessa Budd had two ground balls with a turnover and Mergner finished with 11 draws.

Danielle Harrington turned away six shots and improved to 10-1 in the cage, while Hannah Wiltshire took the loss with two stops.

Jorgensen finished with five goals and one assist, Moriarty netted three with a helper and Abruzzo ended with three scores for the Diplomats. Saliba dished out three assists and scored once, while Frank, Delinsky, Madden, Everdell and Kelly all scored once. Frank added two assists, while Blicht, Delinsky, Freud, Madden and Mergner all finished with an assist.

F&M outshot Tufts 32-22, won 20-of-27 draws and went 13-for-14 in clears.