By Josh Schafer, HockomockSports.com Contributor
FOXBORO, Mass. – Foxboro won the final draw control of the game and charged down the field. But with just under 10 seconds remaining, there wasn’t enough time to set a up a play. Instead, time ran out just before the Warriors could release their final shot.
If there was another second left, Foxboro might’ve scored its seventh goal of the half and completed a stunning comeback.
Instead the clocked hit double zeros and Franklin recorded its second straight one goal victory, 9-8, over Foxboro in a battle of division leaders. The win clinched at least a share of the Kelley-Rex title for Franklin — the sixth straight for the Panthers.
Foxboro’s Molly Murphy cut the deficit to just one with 11 seconds to play, but Foxboro couldn’t get a shot off to tie the game before the buzzer.
Similar to its victory over defending state champions Westwood on Monday, Franklin relied on its defense and clung to its lead.
“Franklin is top three in the state,” Foxboro head coach Brittany Sherry said. “So hanging with them first of all, and winning would be a plus. We’ve never beat them – it’s a program goal of ours, always has been.”
When the division champions battled a year ago, Franklin handled Foxboro 13-8 — and this year’s game began in similar fashion.
Senior Caroline Lounsbury scored the first two goals for Franklin on feeds from freshman Erin Walsh. The senior attack caught both feeds at full speed, cut towards the net and finished to the left of Foxboro goalkeeper Sara Addeche. A mishap in front of the net led to an own goal for Foxboro, giving the Kelley-Rex leading Panthers an early three goal advantage.
But after that, Foxboro’s defense settled in. The Warriors’ zone stifled the Panthers over the last 35 minutes allowing just six goals to a Franklin team which had previously been held to single digit scoring just four times this season. Addeche compiled 10 saves while her counterpart, Franklin freshman Gianna Cameron, tallied eight.
“We kind of took advantage of the fact that they were young and our zone just kept their composure,” Sherry said. “We try not to put them on the line and make them make them mistakes.”
After trailing 5-2 at the half, Foxboro dictated pace in the second half. The possessions lengthened from barely half a minute in the first half to nearly two minutes per possession in the second half. The Warriors’ offense was patient and waited for opportunities to arise.
And they did.
Jackie Brion scooped a ground ball and cleared it the length of the field. She moved the ball on to Meghan Curran, who scored twice in the first half, as the sophomore was cutting down the alley. An additional pass reached Lauren Flahive before the senior fired it into the back of the net.
“If we played like we did in the second half in the first half I think we would’ve gotten a different result,” Sherry said.
In the few possessions, Franklin did capitalize. The Walsh sisters, Annie a sophomore, and Erin a freshman, combined for three of the last four goals of the games for Franklin. On the team’s second to last goal, Annie stood outside the circle of Warrior defenders and carefully lobbed the pass over their heads. The ball landed perfectly in a streaking Erin’s stick and the freshman cranked the shot just under the crossbar.
A few possessions later Lauren Bissanti ran from the bench straight through the Foxboro defense and caught a pass on the run down the center of the defense. She sent the eventual game winner to the bottom left corner.
Foxboro would make a late push with goals by Sophia DiCenso and Murphy, but it wasn’t enough and Franklin remained unbeaten in league play.
“A win is a win,” Franklin head coach Kristin Igoe Guarino said. “Our defense did well our goalie played well, we were aggressive but we could’ve played a lot better.”
Franklin (17-1 overall, 8-0 Hockomock) will look to clinch the Kelley-Rex title outright when it travels to Taunton on Thursday. Foxboro (13-3, 8-1) will look to bounce back on Friday with a trip to Attleboro.