Final: Franklin 2 – Thomas More 0
Records: Franklin 1-1 | Thomas More 1-1
Location: Faught Stadium – Franklin, Ind.
FRANKLIN – Staring across the field from a team that won 22 games a season ago, the Franklin College women's soccer team entered Sunday's contest against Thomas More with a chance to knock off a regional opponent and get back on track following a season-opening defeat.
The Grizzlies weathered the storm of an aggressive Saints attack in the first half, keeping their guests off the board thanks to some timely saves from Lexi Short. In the second half, the Grizzlies turned to two of their top offensive players to break the scoreless tie and propel FC to a 2-0 win.
Maddie Fleet scored her second goal in as many games and added an assist on Taylor McDaniel's insurance goal late in the contest. Short turned aside eight shots for the Grizzlies, holding the Saints in check to help head coach Cristin Allen earn her first win as a head coach.
"It was a long week of preseason and this weekend was energizing to play someone else and beat a really good team today," Allen said after the game. "Without Lexi and our backs, this game could have gotten out of hand when we were pinned in our own end early on. She kept us stable and kept us in it when we couldn't generate any chances."
"We knew what to expect based on what Thomas More did a year ago," Short added. "Our defense was great and we talked at half we knew a goal was coming. Once we got the first one, everything changed and we were able to get another."
The first half was mainly played in the midfield as the teams struggled to generate much offense. The first high-quality chance was generated by the Saints with time running out in the first half, but Short stood tall and turned aside a shot in tight to keep the game scoreless.
Short made a tough stop on Samantha Goodwin's long-distance try in the 54th minute and she held the fort again in the 62nd minute with a spectacular diving save.
After that save, the offense took over. Fleet broke the scoreless tie in the 67th minute, taking a Kelsey Brunsman from head-to-foot and fired it into the back of the net. After two big saves from Short in the 75th and 77th minutes, respectively, McDaniel put the game out of reach with nine minutes to play.
Short finished with eight stops to earn her ninth career clean sheet. Aleyna Heyman turned aside three Franklin shots at the other end.
The Griz will hit the road for the first time this year for each of their next three contests. The first comes this coming Wednesday (Sept. 6) at Centre College. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.