by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
LANCASTER, Penn. – The Franklin & Marshall Diplomats used two first half goals to defeat the Whitworth Pirates 2-0 on Monday evening.
The Diplomats (2-0) finished the match with a dominant advantage in shots (26-6) and shots on goal (10-2), a result of Whitworth's (0-3) struggles to link passes for much of the match.
Franklin & Marshall dominated the match from its opening, creating two scoring chances within the first four minutes. Both chances were stopped by Whitworth goalkeeper Jimmy Choi, but they were indicative of a first half where the Diplomats attempted seven more shots and four more shots on goal than the Bucs.
The Diplomats opened the scoring in the 27th minute when Whitworth turned the ball over in its defensive third. Alex Lalovic took advantage of the error, scoring the match's inaugural goal off an assist from Jim Connolly.
Connolly was on giving end of another assist when Franklin & Marshall struck again in the 34th minute. This time the senior lifted a free kick to the head of A.J. Kopacz, who drove home the Diplomats' second goal.
Whitworth improved its play in the second half, maintaining more possession and moving the ball up the field, but turnovers in the offensive third hurt the Bucs ability to get any goals on the scoreboard.
The highlight of the half for the Pirates came in the 77th minute. Jack Brandt lifted a high, curling shot towards goal, but Jesus Nunez made a full-extension dive to keep the Pirates in the match. The save was the second of Nunez's four.
The Pirates best chance followed Nunez's highlight-reel save. After linking several passes on their way up the field, the Bucs found Zanskar Blair free in the penalty area. Blair fired away a shot, but Diplomat goalkeeper Christopher Amoruso made a diving stop to maintain the shutout.
Amoruso finished the match with a pair of saves. Nunez and Choi combined for eight stops for Whitworth. Choi played the match's first 61 minutes before being relieved by Nunez.
Up next, the Pirates return home for a pair of matches against NAIA opponents. The Bucs start off the short homestand taking on Northwest on Thursday, Sept. 6 at 4:00 p.m.