By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. The old adage “practice makes perfect” is one that certainly held true for the Franklin girl’s field hockey team on Friday. The Panthers scored early and never looked back on their way to a 1-0 win over Bridgewater-Raynham in First Round of the MIAA D1 South tournament.
Franklin, who haven’t played a lot on grass fields this season, spent this week practicing on the surface to prepare for the game, and it showed. Just three minutes into the game, senior midfielder Alex Sullivan got the rebound following a save from B-R goalie Hailey Colon and put the ball in the back of the net to put Franklin up 1-0.
“We practiced on grass all week and we practiced going hard to the ball and beating them to the ball and that’s what we did, got the jump on them and popped one in early, so it felt good to have that lead,” said Franklin head coach Lisa Cropper on the quick start.
Two minutes later Bridgewater-Raynham saw an opportunity of their own, but the shot by senior forward Kelly Page went just wide of the post.
The rest of the first half was all Franklin, as they had eight first half scoring chances, including a whopping six corner opportunities. But stout defense from the Trojans, especially senior defender Brooke Baran, limited Franklin to just the one goal.
The second half started off with both teams trying to take control, but it was B-R who had the first scoring chance, but the shot by senior Erin LaMarca went just wide right.
After Franklin failed to convert off of a corner at the 10 minute mark, B-R controlled the game for the rest of the second half, but after missing two shots wide at the 13 and 17 minute marks, they had their best scoring chance at the 18 minute mark.
A pass from Kelly Page to Katherine Swart got past Franklin goalie Christina Luccini, but a save by senior defender Maddie Derby kept the 1-0 Franklin advantage.
B-R wasn’t done yet though, as a shot by Swart went just wide to the left of the post with six minutes to play, and right after that they had another opportunity off of a corner — their first of the second half — but a good defensive stop from Franklin senior Kayla Marshall kept B-R off the scoreboard.
In the last five minutes of the second half, B-R controlled possession, but were unable to get any shots off, as numerous Franklin clears kept the ball around midfield. With one minute left, Page drove through the Franklin defense, but a clear by Derby followed up by another clear by Franklin’s Kate Morse 20 seconds later with B-R threatening again sealed the victory for the Panthers.
Franklin, winners of 12 games in the regular season, will look to avenge their worst loss of the year on Sunday in Walpole, where they fell 7-0 at back on September 24th. The Porkers, who beat Oliver Ames, 2-1, in overtime on Friday, won the Bay State Conference Herget Division title during the regular season, have yet to lose this year.