By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter
FRANKLIN, Mass. – It felt like mid-summer on the turf at Beaver Field on Monday as Franklin hosted Mansfield in a Kelley-Rex showdown, but the weather didn’t slow down either sides’ offense as the two sides battled to a 2-2 tie.
Just two minutes into the game, Franklin had a scoring opportunity but the Panthers couldn’t find the back of the net. Four minutes later, Mansfield had an opportunity of its own but a kick save by Franklin goalie Anna Jardine (nine first half saves) kept the Hornets off the board. Ten minutes in, Franklin had another good scoring chance but a nice save by Mansfield goalie Kayla Hunter (11 saves) prevented the Panthers from taking an early lead.
With 16 minutes left in the half, Mansfield’s shot was kicked away by Jardine and to the top corner of the circle where Ann Maher put the ball on her stick and drove a shot to the corner to put the Hornets up 1-0.
Two minutes later, a would-be Franklin goal was waved off after it ruled the shot hit the foot of a Franklin player. Mansfield would then see their best scoring opportunity for the rest of the half when the Hornets had three shots on goal in a sequence with nine minutes left in the first half, but stout play from Jardine and the Franklin defense managed to keep the Franklin deficit at one.
With the first half winding down, Franklin junior Annie Walsh had her shot tipped and deflected in by sophomore Erin Walsh, and the Panthers tied the game up 1-1.
With the heat, Franklin made a goalie change at halftime, putting in Christina Luccini who would be tested immediately with an early Mansfield corner, However, Luccini was able to kick it away for the first of her six second half saves.
“Both Anna and Christina have been playing very well, Anna did an outstanding job against Walpole on Saturday, but I knew with the heat that’d we’d probably have to use both of them.” Franklin coach Lisa Cropper said about her team’s goalie play. “They’ve both been much more aggressive and covered their angles better.”
With 22 minutes left in the half, Franklin had a scoring chance of their own, but once again a save by Hunter kept the score tied. Eleven minutes later, a rebound after a Mansfield corner made it onto the stick of Kristina O’Connell, and she put it in the back of the net to give Mansfield a 2-1 lead.
Franklin kept attacking, however, and once again they broke through late in the half, as Regan Paterson scored off a rebound to tie the score up at two.
“I kept putting it to the girls that you gotta want it more than they do,” Cropper said. “Yes, it’s hot, but it’s hot for both teams, so we just had to dig deeper and it was about who wanted it more.”
Franklin wasn’t done after Paterson’s goal, however, as the Panthers had another scoring opportunity with just 1:40 to go in the game, as Cassi Ronan’s aerial off a corner went just over the net, and despite a late Mansfield push, the game ended in a 2-2 tie.
Franklin (2-3-2) will head to Attleboro on Wednesday to take on the Bombardiers.
Mansfield (2-2-2) heads to King Philip on Wednesday to take on the unbeaten Warriors.
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