By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter
FRANKLIN, Mass. – On Thursday afternoon at Pisini Field, the Franklin Panthers utilized a three-goal second half to pull away for a 4-0 win over Taunton.
The first half was tough for both teams as they both struggled to find their footing. Franklin had the first good look of the half when an Emily Mastaj shot off of a Franklin corner in the 12th minute was stopped on a kick save by Taunton goalie Grace Pimenta. Another Pimenta save on a Miranda Smith shot in the 16th minute kept the game scoreless.
Franklin finally broke through in the 27th minute when senior Kathryn Noon found Smith, who converted a header in traffic, to give Franklin the first score and a 1-0 lead.
Taunton came fighting back In the 34th minute with their first scoring chance when junior Samantha Tichelaar’sshot off of a corner was saved by Franklin goalie Cat Robbins. In the 39th minute, Taunton again tested Franklin when Tichelaar found herself all alone on a breakaway, but a phenomenal diving save by Robbins preserved the Franklin lead.
The remainder of the first half and the beginning of the second half was a possession battle at midfield, as neither team could generate any scoring chances. In the 56th minute, a feed from Calen Frongillo led to a Halle Atkinson breakaway goal, which put Franklin up 2-0.
With the momentum now in its favor, Franklin capitalized just one minute later and it was Atkinson leading the way again, as her cross was finished off by Jess Kroushl, putting Franklin up 3-0.
In the second half, Franklin’s change in play was largely thanks to their improved passing.
“In the first half, we spent as much time passing to them as we did to each other. In the second half, when the kids started to take space before trying to give up the ball, making the defender commit to them, they had opportunities to pass to each other, and it opened up the field,” Franklin coach Tom Geysen said.
One of the keys for Franklin was a strong defensive effort, as they limited Taunton’s opportunities, especially in the second half. Seniors Abigail Gipson and Noon were especially important for Franklin, as they prevented Taunton from getting deep in Franklin territory by forcing turnovers.
The Tigers’ best chance to score in the second half came in the 62nd minute, when a shot of a corner was deflected away and back into Franklin territory.
Franklin’s final tally came in the 72nd minute, when Mastaj found an open Ellie Teixeira, whose shot found the top corner of the net, giving Franklin a 4-0 lead
“The second half was certainly a much superior half for us,” Geysen added
Franklin (3-1-1) will look to continue its four-game unbeaten streak on Monday at home when it takes on undefeated Mansfield. Taunton (0-5-2) returns home on Monday, where the Tigers look to pick up their first win against King Philip.