COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College men's soccer team gave No. 4 Franklin & Marshall a scare, but the Diplomats used a late goal to squeak by with a 2-1 Centennial Conference victory on Saturday.
Already haven taken perennial playoff contender Dickinson to overtime on Saturday, the Bears threatened to do the same against a Diplomats squad that came in sporting a 10-match winning streak and ranked first in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Ursinus weathered an extended spell of pressure before the dam finally broke in the 81st minute and Kane Feudtner deposited the game-winner.
The Bears (4-6-1, 0-4-1) took a shock lead just past the quarter-hour mark, when Aidan O'Malley stepped in front of an errant pass around midfield. Spotting the keeper off his line, O'Malley sent a high-arching shot over his head and into the back of the net for a stunning goal.
The Diplomats needed less than five minutes to equalize as Alex Lalovic tapped in a cross from Dallen Moore, and spent the remainder of the half knocking on the door. F&M had several chances in close, including a towering header by Feudtner that bounced back off the crossbar in the final minute, but were unable to pierce the Bears' defenses as the teams went into the locker room knotted at 1-1.
Jacob Helwig made a sensational defensive play with three minutes remaining in the period, leaping high to head out a deflected shot bound for the upper portion of the net before a Diplomat fired the rebound high.
The Bears remained steadfast against a steady stream of pressure in the second half. F&M had a pair of goals called back for offside in the first 15 minutes of the period before Ursinus began to find its footing, Braden Burns and Griffin Bower each finding space for a shot but firing high.
The blue and white ultimately went ahead for good with just under 10 minutes to play. After a long throw-in, the ball bounced around and found the foot of A.J. Kopacz, who slid a pass over to Feudtner for a right-footed finish.
F&M dominated in shots (20-3) and corners (6-0), but a strong performance by Tyler Lewin (six saves) and the back line kept the Bears close the whole way.
Ursinus takes a break from conference play for a road game at Scranton on Tuesday.