LANCASTER, Pa. - No. 12 Franklin & Marshall used a 9-1 run spanning the third and fourth quarter to overcome a two-goal deficit and sink No. 7 Gettysburg in Centennial Conference (CC) action on Saturday afternoon. It was a close affair the entire game, with the teams within striking distance of each other for the better part of the day until the Diplomats pulled away late.
With the win, the Diplomats (7-0, 6-0 CC) clinched a bid to the NCAA Tournament and at least a share of the Centennial crown. F&M can clinch sole possession of the title with a victory at Dickinson on Thursday, May 6th. Gettysburg (4-1, 4-1 CC) could share the title with a win against Muhlenberg paired with an F&M loss.
Things looked bleak at the start, as F&M dug themselves an early 3-0 hole within the first three minutes of the contest, thanks in part to a scoop and score goal just eight seconds after the opening faceoff.
It took over six minutes, but the Diplomats finally got on the board thanks to an Andrew Towne screamer to narrow things to 3-1. F&M scored three of the next four on back-to-back goals by Will DeMuth followed by a goal from Blake Target to knot the game at 4-4.
The teams would go back and forth on a seesaw for the better part of the next two quarters, with Gettysburg laying claim to three separate two-goal margins, including a 9-7 advantage. with 2:34 remaining in the third. Goals from A.J. Rigsby and Luke Keating kept the Diplomats within reach during the span.
Then, the floodgates opened. Three goals with less a minute remaining turned that two-goal deficit into a one-goal advantage entering the fourth quarter. Christian Sullivan got the party started at the 1:00 mark, followed by an up goal from Blake Target 31 seconds later, then a buzzer-beater from Will DeMuth with two ticks on the clock.
Luke Keating tacked on another just 33 seconds into the fourth to give F&M their first two-goal lead of the day at 11-9. After Gettysburg clawed one back, F&M went on a 5-0 run to put the game to bed.
A stretch of 1:15 saw A.J. Rigsby, Blake Target, and Jack Beatty push the lead to new heights at 14-10. Rigsby and DeMuth tacked on two more in the period for a 16-10 margin, before Gettysburg punched one in late for the 16-11 final.
Eric Mueller picked up his sixth win of the season, turning away 11 Bullets shots.
F&M and Gettysburg finished tied in shots (38 apiece), while the Diplomats held the edge in ground balls (31-25).
The Diplomats polish off their Centennial Conference slate against Dickinson on Thursday evening, with their eyes on sole possession of the CC title.