By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Reporter
FRANKLIN, Mass. – The first round of the MIAA Division I East Tournament pitted two Hockomock League opponents against each other in #2 Franklin and #15 North Attleboro. Franklin took the first matchup between the two on April 10th, and history repeated itself on Monday afternoon at Pisini Field in Franklin, as the Panthers won by a score of 20-1.
Franklin got off to a quick start, with Kelsey McCallum netting the Panthers first goal less than a minute into the game. Stella Regan followed that up with a goal of her own a few seconds later, and then Kenzie Baker (five goals) scored three straight goals to put Franklin up 5-0 less than five minutes into the game. Franklin’s quick start could be attributed to their success on the draw, as they won 21 out of the 24 total draws.
“We always want to come out hard and set the tone early, starting with draws, we’ve been really working on that in practice, just winning draws and the ground ball battle and then taking care of our shots, and we definitely did that today,” said Franklin coach Kristin Igoe Guarino about her team’s start.
The rest of the first half was all Franklin, as the Panthers scored another five goals within eight minutes to increase the lead to 10-0 with 12:16 to go in the first. It could’ve been a larger lead for Franklin if it weren’t for a great save with 14:39 to go by North Attleboro goalie Faith Graveline.
Erin Walsh scored back-to-back goals for the Panthers to go up 12-0, before Hailey Toolin and Kate O’Rourke got on the board to extend Franklin’s lead to 14-0. North had a great scoring opportunity with 5:15 to go in the first half, but a nice save by Franklin’s Gianna Cameron kept them off the board. Jackie O’Neil scored Franklin’s last goal of the first half with 3:50 to go which put Franklin up 15-0.
Franklin would extend their lead to 17-0 early in the second half off goals from O’Neil and Baker, but North would then get on the board with just over fifteen minutes to go in the half. Franklin closed out the game with another three goals to finish out the game and come out with a commanding 20-1 win.
With the win, Franklin moves onto the quarterfinals to face #7 Hopkinton, who beat Bishop Feehan 12-8 in the first round on Tuesday to move on. Franklin played Feehan in their last regular season game and squeaked out a 10-8 road win. Hopkinton entered the postseason with a 12-6 record.
“They’re definitely tough, they’re well-coached, we haven’t seen them this year, but I know they have solid players and a solid team, so we have to focus on ourselves, be ready, but I think it’s gonna be a good game,” Igoe Guarino said about the Panthers’ next opponent.
#1 Franklin will host #7 Hopkinton at Pisini Field in Franklin at 4:00 on Thursday.