#1 TCNJ Rallies to Defeat #7 Franklin & Marshall

LANCASTER, Pa. -- Franklin & Marshall opened up a 4-1 lead on the College of New Jersey, but the #1 Lions (14-0) answered with an 8-1 run to take a 9-5 win at the #7 Diplomats (12-2) Tylus Field. Leigh Mitchell and Alex Spark ignited the TCNJ offense. Mitchell scored four and assisted on another, while Spark tallied a hat trick to hand F&M a rare home defeat.

The loss is only F&M's second on Tylus Field, which opened for play at the start of the 2008 campaign. Salisbury's regular season win in 2009 marked the only other time an opponent has defeated F&M on its new home turf. The Lions' victory also marked just the third home loss for F&M since the start of the 2005 campaign. Gettysburg scored the last victory on Sponaugle-Williamson Field in 2005 during the Centennial Conference finals, long before the Diplomats made the jump across the street. The Diplomats are 65-3 at home since the start of the 2005 season.

The Diplomats shot out of the gates, opening a 4-1 lead before ten minutes had elapsed. Cat Serpe rolled out from behind the cage and went inside of the left post to start the day's scoring. Erin Dunne scored the first of her pair when Maggie Mae Shields skipped the free position shot for a pass across the fan to make it 2-0. Caroline Krohn opted for the low left side on her FPS and slipped another by Mary Waller to make it 3-0.

TCNJ got on the board with a bit of hard luck for F&M. Kelsey Hoffman denied a shot, but the carom rolled right to Jen Garavente who scooped it into the wide open net. Dunne quickly responded running through the Lions' defense to make it 4-1 before Mitchell and Sparks took turns on four-straight goals to give TCNJ their first lead of the day, 5-4.

First-year Lauren Piggott provided the dagger. She drew a foul in the fan in the closing seconds and punched home a goal with a tenth of a second left in the first half to make it 6-4 at the break. Lauren Ehrhardt got the Diplomats back within one early in the second, but Micthell and Spark took turns again with the former scoring twice in the second half. The final goal came with 2:14 left to play as Hoffman pressured defenders well outside of the cage. Piggott threw a feed into the center that gave Mitchell a straight-run to the cage for the biggest differential of the game.

Hoffman rolled up eight save for F&M, getting the bulk of her stops in the first ten minutes. TCNJ fired 25 shots in her direction. The Diplomats mustered only 16 shots. Waller stopped five with four saves in the first half. The Diplomats only got three shots off in the second half, which saw long, deliberate possessions by both teams. TCNJ was 3-10 from the eight-meter fan, while F&M cashed in once on four attempts. The Diplomats dominated the draws 10-5, which accounted for the first half explosion, but TCNJ owned the ground balls, 15-6.

The Diplomats are only the second team to hold TCNJ below 10 goals in a game this year. F&M's Centennial foe, Gettysburg is the other. The Diplomats five goals are the third most allowed by TCNJ this season. Gettysburg scored seven, while Salisbury scored six. F&M is now 2-4 against the top-ranked team in the nation dating back to 2002.

The Diplomats will look to get back on track tomorrow against Haverford in league play.

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Lancaster, PA...The sign of good team is how they respond when faced with adversity. College of New Jersey showed what they were made of on Friday, as they trailed seventh-ranked Franklin & Marshall by three goals in the opening half and battled back for a 9-5 win over the Diplomats.

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