Franklin, Whiteland girls soccer eliminated


Utilizing the Franklin Central football stadium to host a girls soccer sectional provides a big-time feel to athletes and coaches alike.

Much as Franklin and Greenwood were hoping to continue the experience as part of tonight’s semifinals, a pair of first-round losses assured they won’t.

The Grizzly Cubs opened play Wednesday evening against Columbus East, losing 2-0 to finish the season with a 2-16 record. In the nightcap, the Woodmen fell short against the host Flashes, 3-0.

In the end, the Flashes’ quickness, precision passing and physicality were too much for the Woodmen, who finish with a 10-4-2 record.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a team run like that. I mean, they were just knocking our girls off the ball like I’ve never seen,” Greenwood coach Daniel Appelbaum said. “Very well-coached team. A very strong team.

“We knew that they were going to be the top team in the sectional, and we had to come out and play without mistakes. Unfortunately, they got us on a couple.”

Franklin Central scored just under four minutes into the match.

The Flashes initially had a shot attempt deflected away by Greenwood goaltender Bre Wheatley, but sophomore Emma Connor was there for the putback from just a few feet out.

With 8:23 to play before halftime, junior Erica Thackery scored off a corner kick to put the hosts ahead, 2-0. Senior Maci Curtis got in the act just under seven minutes into the second half with a goal that upped the score to 3-0.

Greenwood, which came in riding a five-game win streak and had won nine of its last 12 matches, managed only three shots on goal. Franklin Central had 20.

Three seniors graduate, including four-year starter Emily Metzger, but the future of Woodmen girls soccer appears promising.

“It’s small victories, right? We improved throughout the year,” Appelbaum said. “We still have a very young team. We started six sophomores and a freshman, so we have room to build and room to grow. That’s what I’m excited about.”

The night’s first match saw the Olympians defeat the Grizzly Cubs for the second time in 10 days. Columbus East prevailed, 4-1, back on Sept. 26.

Junior Ruth Federle opened the scoring with a goal from short range at 22:43 of the first half, the ball finding its way to the left front corner of the goal. Another junior, Taylor Scott, made it a 2-0 score at 18:38 with a kick from the right side past Franklin sophomore goalkeeper Sophie Taylor.

Franklin remained in contention going to the second half, holding its own defensively. The offense, however, couldn’t generate many quality looks at the goal.

The Olympians attempted 20 shots on goal to Franklin’s nine.

“We executed defensively how we wanted to; we just couldn’t find the back of the net,” said fourth-year Franklin coach Michael Pierson, who said his team’s final record didn’t tell the entire story. “Just the improvement game to game.

“We utilized the ability to stretch the field, and coming together defensively.”

Midfielder Emma Williams, one of seven seniors on the Grizzly Cubs roster, echoed her coach’s opinion.

“We played really strong against some top-20 teams in the state,” Williams said. “Some things slipped out through our defense, and we didn’t capitalize on opportunities on our offense. Tonight, we just wanted to give it our all because we didn’t know if it was going to be our last game or not.”