ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. - For the second consecutive year, the Smith-Herr Boot remained in the possession of No. 12 Franklin & Marshall as the Diplomats downed rival Elizabethtown by a 4-1 score on Wednesday evening.
The non-conference road victory improved F&M to 3-1 on the season while the Blue Jays dropped to 1-2-1.
To learn more about the history of the annual Boot game, click here.
Even possession through the early stages of the first half was followed by the F&M offense settling in and hitting its stride. In the ninth minute, Alex Lalovic stormed down the field with a long run before threading a short pass to A.J. Kopacz at the top of the box.
The sophomore forward found space and fired a low shot to the far post that forced a diving stop from the Elizabethtown goalkeeper.
Following a flurry of Diplomat shots during ensuing possessions, F&M broke through in the 24th when Kopacz found Shay Adamson for the game's opening goal. Adamson's marker was the first of the first-year midfielder's career.
Just 15 minutes later, Steven Yakita tacked on and made it a 2-0 Diplomat advantage with a solo score.
F&M went into the halftime break with a decisive 10-4 advantage in shots with a 3-0 edge in corners.
The Diplomats wasted little time tacking on in the second half as Robert Maze connected with Alex Lalovic in the 51st minute before Lalovic stuck again in the 55th off a feed from Christian Avila Neres.
On the cusp of the team's first shutout of the season, F&M suffered a late goal when the Blue Jays' fired off a long shot that landed just below the crossbar with just 18 seconds remaining.
Lalovic led the offense with two goals on a team-leading four shots while Alex Martinez followed with three shots on the night.
The overall shot count belonged to the Diplomats at 18-13, along with corners at 5-3.
Wednesday's victory moved 18-year head coach Dan Wagner one step closer to the 200-win milestone for his career. He enters the weekend with a 199-87-41 career record and aims to hit the mark when the Diplomats battle Scranton on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. on the road.