LANCASTER, Pa. - Mary Hobbs' goal in the early minutes of second half action Sunday afternoon in the championship final of the Centennial Conference 2012 field hockey tournament pulled 15th-ranked Haverford College even with No. 4 Franklin & Marshall College, but the host Diplomats answered 24 seconds later then added two more second-half goals to capture the title by a score of 4-1.
Haverford (14-5), the tournament's second seed, had been out shot 11-4 in the opening half by top-seeded F&M (18-1) but trailed by only one goal at the intermission.
The Fords broke down field in the opening moments of the second half and Bryn Bissey eventually found Hobbs with a pass across the circle from right to left of the goal with Hobbs blasting a shot past Diplomat goalie Avery Koep only two minutes and 15 seconds in to pull Haverford even. The goal was Hobbs' 15th of the year.
Centennial goal leader Kristen Zublin turned the momentum back F&M's way quickly, notching her 19th of the year only 24 seconds later. Chelsey Talhelm, who had scored the game's opening goal, took a shot from near the top of the circle with Haverford goalkeeper Sydney Hyder charging off her line to cut down the angle on Talhelm. Zublin, however, got a stick on the ball as it sailed by and deflected the shot up and over Hyder but just under the crossbar.
Zublin added another goal in the 45th minute to increase the lead to two, then Steph McDonald iced the game with a goal in the 63rd to help F&M capture its first Centennial tournament championship in field hockey and an automatic bid into the NCAA's 2012 tournament.
The Fords, who had reached the playoff final two years ago, were seeking their first conference championship but have to settle for the runner-up spot while now hoping for an at-large bid into the NCAAs.
Hyder (13-5) finished the day with six saves nearly matching Koep who (16-1) registered seven in holding off the Fords.
Haverford, despite surrendering three goals in the second half, equaled the Dips with seven shots and owned a 4-3 advantage in penalty corner opportunities over the final 35 minutes of action.
The weekend's visit into the semifinal and final rounds were Haverford's fourth in a row, a first for the program.