FRANKLIN, Mass. – In the 2013 playoffs, then freshman Megan Adams turned into a revelation for Franklin. She scored four times during the Panthers run to the South sectional final, including a hat trick in the tournament opener against Milford.
Because of a number of injuries this fall, Adams’ sophomore season has never really gotten going, but she finally got back on the field for the first time this Wednesday against Stoughton.
On Saturday afternoon at Pisini Field, Adams came off the bench in her second game of the season and provided the game-winning goal with eight minutes remaining in Franklin’s 3-2 victory over visiting Central Catholic.
“It’s been a frustrating season for me not playing and coming out here and obviously having a big part in the game just felt great, felt like last season, and I was right back in the team again,” said Adams after the win.
When asked if it was difficult to jump into a game that featured playoff-like intensity after so much time off, Adams nonchalantly responded, “It’s pretty easy to switch it right back on as an athlete. We’ve all been playing forever and you know when it’s a big game you come to the field ready to play.”
The final goal came after an uncharacteristic defensive breakdown allowed Bailey Knous to race in all alone on the Central Catholic goalie. Sophomore keeper Amanda Fay made a huge save to stop the breakaway but the rebound popped out to Adams, who was making a late run into the box. The sophomore opened her body and placed a shot into the top corner.
“We preach all the time you have to anticipate the keeper will misplay the ball and be there for the rebound,” said Franklin coach Tom Geysen. “That is exactly what Megan did. She didn’t stop her run, she didn’t give up, she did what she needed to do and she ended up finishing.”
The visiting Raiders had the first two chances of the game. Senior forward Ali Wiggins played a through ball to classmate Jenna Martin but the shot went narrowly wide of the far post. Then Wiggins hit a 30-yard free kick that Franklin goalie Dani Lonati was able to tip onto the crossbar.
Franklin started to pick up its passing and started to create chances of its own. Fay (six saves) made a save at full stretch to deny Megan Georges and tip the shot around the post in the 14th minute.
Three minutes later and the visitors took the lead. Wiggins, who had a pair of assists in the game, picked the perfect pass to spring freshman Ashley Raphael in behind the Panthers back line. Her first shot was saved by Lonati but the ball trickled behind her towards goal and Raphael was first to it and tapped in.
The lead was short-lived, as Franklin came right back just a minute later to equalize. Lindsey Mastaj sent in a cross from the right that picked out Taylor Cogliano, but the senior’s header rang off the crossbar. The rebound came to Georges who had her header blocked by the Raiders defense. Knous was the third Panther in the box and she calmly slotted the ball into the far post to make it 1-1.
Four minutes after halftime, Franklin took its first lead. Again it was the right back Mastaj that provided a dangerous cross and Alexis Stowell was able to finish with the outside of her right boot and just inside the post.
Stowell admitted, “I did overrun it and I didn’t think I was going to get it in but I just kind of put my leg out there and tapped it in. I was happy that it happened.”
“You can’t let down for an instant,” said Geysen. “If you do, the end result is that someone is going to do something and it generally doesn’t end up being a good result for us.”
Franklin had several opportunities for the third goal. Cogliano had a pair of shots in the left channel but was unable to put wither on target. In the 67th minute, a long clearance by Meghan Dieterle picked out Knous but her shot was inches over the bar.
All of that set up Adams for to make her return to the lineup a memorable one and give Franklin a huge boost as it enters the final weeks of the regular season.
“We’re up and down,” said Geysen. “If we’re able to come out and play the next three games at a high level, I would be very optimistic, but we haven’t done that. We have five games left and they’re all in our division and not one of them is going to be an easy game.”
Franklin will get back into Hockomock play on Wednesday with the visit of Attleboro to Pisini Field.
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