No. 7 Gettysburg Knocks off No. 4 Franklin & Marshall

GETTYSBURG, Pa. For three long years, the current seniors on Gettysburg College's women's lacrosse team fell short against rival Franklin & Marshall College, but the Bullet leaders said no more on Wednesday night, outlasting the fourth-ranked Diplomats for an 8-7 victory and clinching home-field advantage for next weekend's Centennial Conference Tournament.

Gettysburg (14-2, 8-0 CC), ranked seventh in the latest national poll, moved one win away from its first perfect conference regular season in four years with its first victory over Franklin & Marshall (11-2, 7-1 CC) in the same time frame. All of the Bullets' goals were notched by seniors as Jessica Crane (Sudbury, Mass./Sudbury-Lincoln) posted three, Hollis Stahl (Hightstown, N.J./Peddie School) and Nina Emala (Baltimore, Md./Bryn Mawr) each tallied two, and Lexie Hearn (Old Greenwich, Conn./Greenwich) scored the eventual game-winner.

The atmosphere was electric at Clark Field from the opening draw, which was corralled by Stahl and led to a shot by Emala. Diplomat goalie Lidia Sanza, who stopped 14 Bullet shots in the CC title game last spring, sent an early message by knocking the shot away and picking up the loose ball.

After a series of turnovers by both teams, Franklin & Marshall struck first as top-scoring tandem Meredith Lussier and Blake Hargest hooked up at 28:13. It took just over a minute for Gettysburg to answer with Crane tossing in a free position goal at 27:11.

The Bullets fired off a flurry of shots that were off the mark over the next six minutes until Lussier took the ball to the goal for the Dips' second goal at 21:01. The hosts answered after controlling the draw when Hearn hooked up with Stahl at the 19-minute mark.

Gettysburg took its first lead 28 seconds later as Emala drew a foul inside the scoring area and converted a leaping shot into the top left corner of the goal. Franklin & Marshall forced a tie in short time when Hargest dished out an assist to Lauren Ehrhardt at 17:54.

The Bullets' pressure continued to pay off as Crane forced a turnover by Lussier and converted on the opposite end for her second goal of the game at 11:59. Gettysburg forced four more turnovers over the next six minutes with the last leading to a spectacular quick-stick goal by Emala from freshman Lindsey Robinson (Potomac, Md./Holton-Arms) at 4:16 to up the advantage to 5-3.

The Dips cut the deficit to 5-4 with the final goal of the half by Maggie Mae Shields at 3:35. Gettysburg controlled the ball for the final three minutes until losing possession as time expired.

After a back-and-forth opening half, the second half played out at a much slower, deliberate pace. Crane was able to give Gettysburg a two-goal lead with another free position goal, her third score of the game, at 24:31.

For the next 14 minutes, only four shots were taken with Sanza and Gettysburg goalie Kristen Krammer (Woodbine, Md./Glenelg) each making one save. The Diplomats finally capitalized on a second-half offensive opportunity as Lussier found the back of the net at 10:11.

Each goalie stopped shots on the next two possessions, with Krammer stepping out on a rocket by Lussier in front of the cage. Gettysburg converted on the other end as Hearn found Stahl cutting behind and around the cage for a score at 7:26, giving the hosts a 7-5 lead.

The Bullets posted the largest lead of the game with a goal less than a minute later as Robinson dished to Hearn for a low shot past Sanza at 6:30.

Franklin & Marshall was far from out, tallying the next two scores to cut the deficit to 8-7 with just under four minutes play. Gettysburg controlled the final draw, but lost the ball near the midfield to open the door for the Diplomats to tie the game.

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