HAVERFORD, Pa. – The Haverford College men's soccer team handed No.1 Franklin & Marshall its first defeat of the season Saturday afternoon on Walton Field. The Fords (12-3, 7-0 CC) have now beaten a No.1-ranked team twice in program history. The other instance came during the 1988 season with the Fords topped then-No. 1 Elizabethtown by a 2-1 score in the Middle Atlantic Conference Championship. Saturday's meeting was a clash between the second and sixth-longest active winning streaks in Division III.
Haverford's win was a come-from-behind effort as the previously unbeaten Diplomats (14-1, 6-1 CC) got a goal from Chase TenBrook just 2:03 into the match. Once again, the Fords provided a quick answer with their veteran presence as Tejan Walcott finished some crisp passing from Colin Seitz and Sam Yarosh to tie the game at one in the ninth minute of play. Will Corkery converted the eventual game-winning goal on a penalty kick in the 27th minute of play before Sam Yarosh's unassisted goal in the 38th minute capped the scoring.
Saturday's effort was a record-breaking performance in more ways than one. In the immediate aftermath, the Fords can now confidently state they have the inside track for the top seed in the conference playoffs with just one week to play in the regular season. Haverford is also guaranteed to avoid the first round game and can clinch home field advantage for the conference tournament with a win at Ursinus next Wednesday.
On a more historical note, Saturday's victory ties the program record of 10 straight outright victories. The Fords previously achieved this mark during the 1977, 1984 and 1992 seasons, along with a combined effort from the 1944-45 seasons. Haverford also ran its unbeaten streak at home to 11 conference regular season straight matches without suffering a loss. The last 10 home conference matches have all been wins in that stretch.
The Diplomats opened the scoring quickly as TenBrook finished a rebound to put his team up 1-0 with his 11th goal of the season. TenBrook's goal came after Sam Miller made an original save on Ugo Okolie's shot but could not recover for the rebound. Undeterred by the early deficit, Haverford wasted little time as Walcott scored his fourth goal of the season just over six minutes after the match's first goal. His goal followed some slick passing from Yarosh and Seitz to bring the ball down the left side and beat the defense. Colin Seitz's assist was his first of the year, while Yarosh now has five assists on the year.
After the quick start, the action settled for a couple minutes before Franklin & Marshall was whistled for a foul in the box during the 27th minute of play. Corkery beat the keeper to the post on the penalty kick to put his team up 2-0 with his fifth goal of the season. Corkery now has 21 points on the season as the junior is also tied for the Centennial Conference lead with 11 assists on the year. Four of his five goals have been game-winning efforts this season.
After helping to set up the game's first goal, Yarosh added the insurance with his unassisted goal in the 38th minute of action. Dribbling across the top of 18 through the defense, Yarosh finally created enough room at the top of the box for his Centennial Conference-leading 14th goal of the year. Yarosh's 30th goal of his career ties him for 12th in school history with Frank Cary, his predecessor of exactly 100 years, as Cary was a member of the Class of 1916.
After 45 minutes of play, Haverford had built a 9-6 advantage in shots. The Diplomats nearly reversed that stat in the second half with a 9-7 edge in shots during the final 45 minutes. However, each of those attempts proved unsuccessful as Miller came up with four saves on the afternoon to preserve his and the team's 12th win of the year. The Fords finished with a 16-15 edge in shots as Trevor Britton made six saves for the match on the visitor's side.
Men's soccer will now try to officially lock down the top spot in the Centennial Conference and home field in the conference tournament this Wednesday when the squad travels to Ursinus for a 7:30 p.m. match. The Fords will close out the regular season back on Walton Field for Senior Day against rival Swarthmore.