LANCASTER, Pa. – The Haverford College men's soccer upset top-seeded Franklin & Marshall in the Centennial Conference semifinals with a goal in each half on the way to a 2-0 victory for the Fords. The win for the Fords (11-6-1) handed the Diplomats (15-1-2) their first defeat on the season. Franklin & Marshall entered the game ranked No. 4 in the latest national coaches' poll.
With Saturday's win, Haverford will play for the Centennial Conference Championship for the third time in four seasons under head coach Shane Rineer. Rineer led his squad to the 2012 conference championship. He will look for his second conference title in three years on Sunday at Franklin and Marshall with a 2 p.m. start time against second-seeded Muhlenberg.
Coming into the game unbeaten on the year, the Diplomats did not make many mistakes throughout the year. However, when Franklin & Marshall slipped up early the Fords made them pay for what turned out to be a costly mistake.
Off a free kick, Will Corkery's ball traveled into the box and looked to be handled by the F&M keeper. However, the sun interfered with the catch and Tejan Walcott was there to clean up the loose ball rebound and put the Fords up 1-0 just 12:22 into the contest. Walcott's goal was his seventh of the season, while Corkery's helper was his team-leading eighth assist of the year.
Sam Miller was called on to make two of his three saves during the opening 45 minutes and the Fords would carry that 1-0 lead deep into the second half with a strong defensive presence throughout the contest.
With Franklin & Marshall pushing for the game-tying goal for the majority of Saturday's semifinal after the early Haverford goal, Sam Yarosh was able to settle the Haverford attack in the 84th minute of play. Gaining control on F&M's side of the field, Yarosh carried the possession down the right side of the field and fired his shot into the left side of the net. Yarosh's insurance goal with 6:30 remaining in the game was his third of the season.
For the rest of the game, it was the Haverford defense that was tasked with locking down Franklin & Marshall's attack. Just like they had done for the first 83-plus minutes, the Fords wrapped up the shutout bid as Miller finished with his sixth clean sheet of the year.
The defense in front of Miller helped limit the Diplomats' offense to just three attempts on goal despite 14 shots in total on the afternoon. The Haverford defense also had to defend nine corner kicks from the hosts, seven of which came over the final 45 minutes of play.
Like in the Franklin & Marshall contest, Haverford will have to reverse a regular season outcome to capture the Centennial title. Today's win reversed a 4-1 defeat from just a mere two weeks ago against Franklin & Marshall. Muhlenberg came from behind to down Haverford 4-3 in the regular season.