F&M Beats Gettysburg for Centennial Crown
from press release
LANCASTER, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall topped Gettysburg 7-6 on Sunday to win the Centennial Conference (CC) championship for the fifth time in as many seasons. The Diplomats (17-2) Kelsey Hoffman stopped a season-high 12 shots for the second time in as many meetings with the Bullets (14-4), while Cat Serpe provided the title-game clincher for the second time in as many years.
Serpe's run through the middle of the Gettysburg defense ended with a shot in the back of the net, giving F&M a 7-4 lead with 11:55 to play. It was her only goal of the game and the fourth consecutive goal by F&M, opening up the largest lead of the contest. Prior to the run, the game had never been separated by more than a single marker. It had been tied four times.
Serpe's goal was just the insurance F&M needed. The Bullets, who couldn't seem to solve Hoffman all day, solved her twice in 41 seconds inside of the final five minutes. After being denied on a free position shot by Hoffman, Kelsey Markiewicz was granted another from the top of the circle. This time, Markiewicz bounced one through the wickets of the Diplomats' freshman to get Gettysburg back within two, 7-5. Gettysburg won the ensuing draw, and Hannah Church made a run down the right side of the fan and again chose five-hole to make it 7-6 with 3:28.
Church finished the day with three goals and an assist.
The Bullets won the next draw and with 2:35 to play, Markiewicz drew another FPS attempt. This time, Hoffman was up to the task, stopping her 12th and final shot of the day. Mary McNutt, who provided a goal to knot it 3-3 heading into the half, scooped the carom back to Hoffman. It was McNutt's fourth ground ball of the day, all from the same situation.
Hoffman had come up huge throughout, turning away four free position shots during the game. She was equally good in peak action with back-to-back saves then a third stop from point blank range with a little under eight minutes in the first half. Down two starters on the back end, F&M freshman-starter, Libby Nichols, stepped up huge to help fill the void with three caused turnovers and four ground balls.
While Hoffman and Nichols held down the defensive end, Erin Dunne provided the bulk of F&M's offensive fireworks, netting a hat trick for the fourth time in five games. She opened the day's scoring by finishing a pass from behind the net out of Lauren Ehrhardt's stick. Dunne did the work herself on consecutive goals in the second half, giving F&M the lead for good. She rolled out from the back left of the goal circle and beat Maddie Coleman to the long side to make it 5-4. Working from the right corner of the eight-meter line, she slipped a shot inside of the right post two minutes later to open the first multi-goal lead of the game. Dunne also grabbed three ground balls, caused two turnovers and won a draw during the victory.
The game was as statistically close as the final score. F&M held an 8-7 edge on the draw circle and a 22-21 lead in ground balls. Gettysburg held a 22-17 lead in shots.
The Diplomats' victory was the 17th of the season, surpassing the 2010 win total of 16 when F&M made its fourth consecutive final four appearance. It was the ninth time that F&M and Gettysburg have met in the Centennial title game in as many seasons. The Diplomats and the Bullets have collided 11 times since the start of the 2007 season with F&M coming out on top 10 times. F&M earned the Centennial's automatic qualifier and will make their sixth-straight NCAA appearance when the field is announced next week. It will be F&M's 14th trip to the national tournament. The Diplomats have won the NCAA Championship in each of the past two odd-numbered years.
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