WASHINGTON - Franklin & Marshall scored off of a corner kick in the 88th minute to steal a 1-0 win over the Catholic University men's soccer team in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Carlisle, Pa. on Saturday, Nov. 16.
The Cardinals finish the season with a 12-6-2 record, while F&M improves to 15-3-2 and will face Dickinson in the second round tomorrow at 5 p.m.
Neither team was able to put together much of an offensive threat in the first half, as shots were even at three.
Chris Larson (Nassau, Bahamas/Portsmouth Abbey) started the offensive attack for the Cardinals, driving a low shot from just outside the Diplomats' goalbox, but his shot was just off the mark and missed left in the 16th minute of action.
At halftime, Torsten Meuschke (Gaithersburg, Md./Gaithersburg) had one save, as did his counterpart Trevor Britton. F&M held a 3-to-1 advantage in corner kicks for the first 45 minutes.
As the whistle blew to start the second half, both teams were looking to impose their will as each squad stepped up the physical play.
Franklin & Marshall had multiple offensive threats in a five minute span, which saw two shots slam into the crossbar and another chance denied by Meuschke who made an incredible save, as he punched the ball over the goal at the 52:56 mark.
With less than three minutes to play, the Dips collected their eighth corner kick of the game. Ryan O'Connell stepped up and drove a ball inside the six yard box and found Zach Fried who fired a shot right at Meuschke. Meuschke made the save but the linesman signaled the ball had crossed the goal line and the Diplomats took the 1-0 lead with little time to spare.
Desperate for an equalizer, the Cardinals sent everyone onto the attack and soon earned a corner kick opportunity of their own. With less than a minute to play, Earl Hamilton (Fort Washington, Md./Gonzaga) sent in a dangerous ball that bounced in the box. Ben Fernandez (Bethesda, Md./Bethesda-Chevy Chase) got a foot on it but his attempt was off the mark and the Cardinals saw their season come to a close.
CUA finishes the year ranked No. 8 in the NSCAA Mid-Atlantic Poll. Earlier this week, Catholic had six student-athletes named All-Landmark, including Fernandez who was tagged the Defensive Player of the Year for the conference.
For more information on CUA men's soccer, visit the official athletics website www.cuacardinals.com