BALTIMORE, Md. – The Ursinus College field hockey team's saw its quest for a fifth straight Centennial Conference championship thwarted with a 3-1 loss to No. 13 Franklin & Marshall in the semifinals on Friday afternoon at Johns Hopkins.
Freshman Erin McIlhenny was the goal scorer for the Bears, whose season came to an end with a record of 10-8. Sarah Schannauer scored one goal, assisted on another, and registered two defensive saves for the Diplomats (14-3), who will face tournament host Johns Hopkins – an overtime winner over Haverford in the first semifinal – in Sunday's championship game.
Ursinus had captured the last four CC titles – all of them against F&M, including last year's 2-1 overtime thriller in Collegeville. But the Diplomats, who claimed the regular-season meeting in overtime, finally got the best of the Bears in the postseason. F&M handed Ursinus only its third loss ever in CC playoff history (25-3 record), and its first since the Blue and White claimed a 2-0 decision in the semifinals in 2012.
Most of the action took place within the first eight minutes, when the teams combined for three goals. F&M jumped right on top when Emily Nagle tapped in Sarah Schannauer's pass off a corner just 1:19 into the contest.
The Bears knotted the affair at the 7:02 mark, when McIlhenny pushed a rebound just across the goal line after Schannauer kept freshman Zia Cooper's blast out of the cage with a defensive save, one of two for her on the afternoon. The marker was McIlhenny's second of the season, and made her the first Ursinus freshman to score in a conference playoff game since Amber Steigerwalt in the 2013 final.
The momentum was short-lived. Just 53 seconds later, Lily Mynott took advantage of an Ursinus giveaway in its defensive zone, swooping in from the left and firing a short shot past Bears keeper Jules Singer to hand F&M the lead right back.
Ursinus had ten corners in the first half, but only the first produced a goal.
The Diplomats came out firing after the break, earning four corners in the first ten minutes and coming within a hair of a third goal when Erin Coverdale hit the post. F&M cashed in on the last of three consecutive corners with 16:39 to go, as Schannauer plugged the near post following a corner insert by Nagle for a crucial insurance tally.
Schannauer came up huge again with just over 10 minutes remaining, posting another defensive save to prevent a goal by Bears sophomore Erin Saybolt. Ursinus netted a corner in the closing seconds, but senior Brooke Overly's blast sailed wide.
F&M owned slim edges in shots (17-14) and corners (16-14). Iliana Santangelo made three saves, with Singer matching her.
Friday marked the last match for Ursinus seniors Overly, Emma Frees, Sydney Godbey, and Kaitlyn Hauck. The quartet was a part of three CC championships, three Elite Eight appearances, and an NCAA Final Four berth in 2015.
Overly finished her career with 35 goals and 15 assists, both of which are tied for 23rd in program history. She is tied for 18th in points with 85.