By Sydney LoPresti, Staff Writer
An early goal shattered the hearts of Gettysburg College fans as the Bullets faced the Franklin & Marshall Diplomats in the first round of Centennial Conference postseason play on Tuesday, November 3rd.
The brisk night on Clark Field began with an early shot by Erika Muskus ’22 less than 30 seconds into gameplay. The luxury of home field advantage was earned and appreciated by the Bullets as the support of Gettysburg fans showered the turf.
However, the momentum abruptly swung in the favor of the Diplomats as a miscommunication on a defensive clearance placed the ball at the feet of a waiting Meg O’Callahan ’23. She capitalized on the opportunity, swiftly placing the ball in the back of the net. The Diplomats took the lead 1-0.
The Bullets quickly looked to retaliate, firing back-to-back shots on first-year goalie Emily Senko. She was able to pull both in, contributing to her eight saves on the game. Muskus once again tried her luck at a goal before the teams broke for halftime but was stopped by Senko once more.
The two teams entered the halftime break with the Diplomats ahead in goals scored, but the Bullets leading in the majority of offensive areas. They were able to outshoot the offensively prominent Franklin & Marshall team nine to six. The Diplomats led the conference in goals, assists, and offensive points in the regular season. It was an incredible achievement for senior goalkeeper Maddie Cunningham to hold them to just one goal. Overall, she tallied five saves during the game.
The Bullets continued their offensive surge in the second half against a defensively physical Franklin & Marshall team. The Diplomats rounded up ten fouls in the first half alone. Erika Muskus and Emma Bedell ’22, a pair that had combined for almost 100 shots prior to this contest, lead the charge towards Senko. She was able to hold steady, keeping the Diplomats ahead by one.
Corner kicks provided extra opportunities for the Bullets as they were able to fire nine of them into the box during the second half of play. However, they failed to convert any of them into points. Senko’s strong presence in goal and a unified F&M defensive line prevented the Gettysburg women from evening the score.
Tensions were high between the teams as the final minutes of gameplay ticked down. The Bullets tried tirelessly to claw back at the early deficit but were unable. The physicality between the opponents continued, resulting in two Franklin & Marshall fouls and a yellow card on Muskus in the last ten minutes.
Despite a feverish effort by the Bullets, the Diplomats were victorious when the clock hit zero. A final score of 1-0 was enough for F&M to advance to the next round of conference play. This was not the end Gettysburg players and fans were hoping to see. However, their tremendous season was an accomplishment in itself, one to be continued on when they lace up their cleats again next year.