LANCASTER, Pa. - A 110th-minute tally in the second overtime period gave Franklin & Marshall's women's soccer team a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to Whitworth in the team's 2018 season opener on Friday evening at Tylus Field.
The Diplomats dropped to 0-1 while the Pirates improved to 1-0.
Following a nearly two-and-a-half-hour delay due to lightning, Whitworth struck early and netted the game's first goal in the ninth minute. A short cross in the box from the Pirates led to a Kelly Wucherer shot from just a few yards out. Diplomat goalkeeper Gabby Panayotakis came up with the initial stop, but Wucherer followed up her own shot with a strike into the lower-right of the goal for the 1-0 edge.
Despite constant Whitworth pressure, F&M's defense held strong for the remainder of the half. Whitworth went into the break with an 8-3 lead in shots but was unable to add on.
The second stanza belonged to the Diplomats as F&M dominated the offensive third with consistent pressure on the Pirates' defense. Nicolette Runko sent a long cross to the near post in the 52nd minute that was intended for a cutting forward but was intercepted by the Whitworth goalkeeper.
The Diplomats finally broke through in the 78th minute when the Diplomat defense caused a turnover deep in the Whitworth offensive third. Kirsten Heine collected the ball, drove to the middle of the box, and fired a strike into the upper-right corner of the net to knot the score at 1-1.
The first overtime period saw Whitworth's offense storm out of the gates with a pair of early attempts, the second of which careened off of the crossbar over the outstretched hands of Panayotakis in the 93rd minute.
Action progressed into the second overtime frame and was ended in the 109th minute when Whitworth's Lauren Hepler chipped a short cross to Rachel Wofford, who found the back of the net with a well-placed header to the bottom-right corner.
The Pirates led the shot count at 20-9 and corners at 4-2. Panayotakis (0-1) registered six saves in 109 minutes of action but was dealt the hard-luck loss. Molly Webster (1-0) earned the win with a three-save effort.
F&M returns to the pitch tomorrow, continuing non-conference action with a 1:00 p.m. start at home against Covenant.