BLUFFTON, Ohio – Jordan Thomas scored twice in the final 20 minutes, netting the game-winning tally with 6:16 to go to give the Franklin men's soccer team a 2-1 comeback win over Bluffton University on Saturday afternoon.
Thomas netted his third and fourth goals less than 12 minutes apart, giving the Grizzlies (3-9, 1-2 HCAC) a dramatic win over the host Beavers (1-11, 0-3 HCAC). It capped off a dominant second half for the Grizzlies, that saw Franklin out-shoot the Beavers 15-4 over the final 45 minutes to earn their first league win of the year.
Franklin opened the match with five consecutive shots, but fell behind by a goal on Jacob Kiger's 20th minute goal. Bluffton held a 6-2 edge in shots over the remainder of the first half, but strong goalkeeping from Jake Hendricks helped keep the deficit at one when the teams headed into the locker room for halftime.
After a few halftime adjustments, the Grizzlies came out swinging in the second half, peppering the Bluffton defense with constant pressure and multiple shot attempts. But the Grizzlies remained scoreless until the 72:10 mark, when Thomas collaborated with Sam Stallsmith on a give-and-go that the junior midfielder stuck home to tie the game.
In the 84th minute, Thomas moved the Grizzlies one step closer to a win when he took an Angel Tapia pass, split three Bluffton defenders and stuck a shot into the bottom corner of the net for the go-ahead goal.
Shots were 22-11 in favor of Franklin, with the Grizzlies out-shooting the Beavers 15-4 in the second half. Hendricks was brilliant in net, making six stops in total, including a pair of game-saving stops in the final six minutes.
The Grizzlies return to action on Wednesday (Oct. 9) night, when Manchester University comes to town for a showdown under the lights at Faught Stadium. Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m.