No. 6 F&M Avenges Loss, Downs No. 12 Messiah

LANCASTER, Pa. Franklin & Marshall avenged one of its two losses this season, defeating Messiah College 7-4 in the Regional Semifinals of the NCAA Division III Tournament on Saturday. The victory gives the Diplomats (19-2) an opportunity to avenge their only other loss this year as F&M will face The College of New Jersey on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. in the Regional Final. TCNJ defeated Catholic 15-9 to advance to Sunday's contest.

Lauren Ehrhardt and Cat Serpe scored identical goals 11 minutes apart to give F&M a 2-0 lead in the first half. Both Diplomats tightroped the Falcolns' (18-2) goal circle, appeared on the left post, and went top left for goals. Messiah answered with brilliant solo efforts from Rachel Dirksen and Cecilia Kjellman to knot it at 2-2, with 6:08 in the first. Kjellman's equalizer was a laser from no angle on the right side that somehow managed to find a home inside of the far post.

Two minutes later, Serpe once again appeared on the Falcons' left post to finish another goal-circle run to give the Diplomats a 3-2 lead heading into the half. Messiah was unable to tie the game again from that point forward, largely because of unforced turnovers. The Falcons gave the ball away 16 times. Only eight of the turnovers were forced. Jordan Quinn caused three of the eight turnovers that F&M had a hand in. She also secured three ground balls to lead a Diplomats defense that limited Messiah to 14 shots. Kelsey Hoffman provided solid backup with six saves. Her counterpart, Taylor Phillips, denied nine of F&M's 23 advances.

Serpe's second goal was the first in a three-goal run by F&M, opening a 5-2 lead with 23:03 left in the game. Erin Dunne had a hand in the latter pair. She struck first, outflanking the Falcons on the right to find a clear lane to the goal. Five minutes later, she fed Lauren Selawski to extend the lead to three. It was the only assist in a game dominated by the defenses.

Kjellman stopped the bleeding with another individual effort. Running down the right side of the fan, she shook a Diplomat defender to the turf, cut back in front of the goal and went over the top of two defenders and Hoffman, making it 5-3. Kjellman and Serpe were the only players that hit paydirt on multiple occasions. Kara Geiman got the Falcons back within one, 5-4 before Caroline Krohn took her turn coming off of the left post to put it away. Maggie Mae Shields threw in a free position goal with 6:40 left in the game to make it 7-4.

The Diplomats won the ensuing draw and never lost possession the rest of the way.

The win gives F&M a home winning-streak of 11 games in the NCAA tournament. That will be tested on Sunday by TCNJ, which snapped F&M's 23-game home-winning streak in the regular season. It was only the second loss the Diplomats have suffered on Tylus Field, which opened for play in 2008. It was only the third home loss F&M had suffered since the start of the 2005 season. Opening draw is set for 1:00 p.m.

2011-05-14



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