By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Reporter
HockomockSports.com Student Reporter Jaron May contributed to this report.
FRANKLIN, Mass. – On a cold, rainy afternoon at the Beaver Street turf, Franklin and King Phillip battled hard for 60 minutes and finished level with a 1-1 tie.
The two teams, who were both ranked in HockomockSports.com’s latest Hock 5 rankings, with Franklin at #1 and KP at #3, came into the game unbeaten in Hockomock League play.
Early on, Franklin took control with two shots in the first three minutes, but sound defense from KP prevented the Panthers from scoring.
After the first few minutes, KP took control for the majority of the rest of the opening half. After a promising scoring opportunity off of a corner was stopped on a clear from Franklin’s Kayla Marshall, KP cashed in.
At the 13:14 mark, KP’s third corner of the opening half proved fruitful when sophomore Nicole Conner found senior Caitlin Donahue on the post to give KP an early 1-0 advantage. KP’s passing on corners made it tough for the Franklin defense, but they stood strong, as they stopped the Warriors on six of their seven corner chances.
Franklin saw another scoring chance off their only corner of the first half at the 8:34 mark, but a clear by sophomore Caroline Klim maintained a 1-0 lead for KP.
The Panthers started out the second half with two straight corners at 28:53 and 28:38, but big defensive stops by KP prevented the Panthers from scoring on either attempt.
“Our defense was awesome, we’re the number one [defense] in the Hock, we were squashing everything, and denied pretty much everything,” KP coach Liz Hathaway said.
At 24:45, Donahue had another scoring opportunity, but a save by Franklin goalie Christina Luccini kept the Franklin deficit at 1-0. Luccini came up big again for Franklin with 19:05 to go in the half, when KP’s Alli Meehan was all alone on a breakaway, but Luccini’s diving save knocked the ball away and back into Franklin territory.
“Christina’s brand new, a first year varsity kid who’s only a sophomore, and has only been playing goalie for two years, but she’s aggressive and she has great instincts,” said Franklin head coach Lisa Cropper.
Just over the halfway mark of the second half, Franklin’s Cassi Ronan’s shot got past KP goalie Abby Campbell to knot the game up at 1-1. After a save by Campbell off of a Franklin corner, KP had a corner of their own with 5:03 left in the second half, but the ball was knocked back into Franklin territory. Another Franklin opportunity with three minutes left was thwarted by KP, and the game would end in a 1-1 tie.
“We didn’t play perfectly well the way we were hoping to, but they’ve improved a lot. I knew they would be tough, but they’ve improved a lot even more since I saw them at the beginning of the season, and I was really proud with the way the girls fought back and were able to tie it,” Cropper said.
“It’s a quality tie,” added Hathaway
Franklin (4-1-3, 4-0-3) heads to Canton on Friday to take on the Bulldogs. KP (6-0-2, 6-0-2) will head to Stoughton on Friday for a matchup with the Black Knights.
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