Runko Leads Diplomats Past Eastern

Runko Leads Diplomats Past Eastern

Box Score

LANCASTER, Pa. - Nicolette Runko continued to provide an abundance of scoring with her second-straight two-goal effort, leading Franklin & Marshall's women's soccer team to a 2-1 win over Eastern on a chilly Wednesday evening in Lancaster.

The Diplomats improved to 3-11-1 with their second-consecutive win while the Eagles fell to 6-10-1. 

Runko now has four goals in her team's last two games after also notching a pair against Bryn Mawr in a 4-1 victory last Saturday. 

F&M's offense garnered a plethora of corner opportunities with consistent pressure in its offensive third in the early going - eventually leading to the Diplomats' first goal of the game. In the 15th minute, Sam Springer's short corner to Meghan Byrne was lofted into the box. The opportunity bounced off the hands of the Eastern goalkeeper and was cleaned up by Nicolette Runko with the close-range, rebound goal. 

A little over three minutes passed before Runko struck again with her second of the game to put F&M ahead by a 2-0 tally. Kirsten Heine kick-started the play with a long, lofted pass from midfield that found Runko on the edge of the box.   

After beating her defender, Runko broke free behind the Eastern backline and fired a shot from five yards out into the lower left of the net. 

Eastern nearly lit the scoreboard in the 31st with a low cross to the far post that found a cutting Eagle forward for a point-blank shot. However, Tara Hessenthaler went down to the turf and turned back the attempt with a sliding stop.

At the end of the first half, F&M led in shots by an 8-3 margin, as well as corners at 4-2. 

Eastern cut into the deficit with a 60th-minute score off a corner kick opportunity. The Eagles continued to mount pressure with a flurry of late chances, but Hessenthaler and the Diplomat defense buckled down for the win. 

Hessenthaler improved to 3-2 on the year with five saves in 90 minutes of action, while her counterpart Adrianna Rowlands (6-10-1) suffered the loss despite her five-save performance. 

F&M led the shot count at 17-9 while Eastern held a 7-4 corner advantage after leading the category by a 5-0 tally in the second half. Runko led the way with six shots on the night, while Ali Cunniffe and Heine followed with three each. 

The Diplomats close out the 2018 regular season on Saturday, welcoming No. 4 Johns Hopkins to Tylus Field at 3:00 p.m. Before the start of the match, F&M will honor its three-member senior class of Meghan Byrne, Sabrina Graziano, and Lauren Kranis.