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RECAP | Early Goal, Stifling Defense Leads Grizzlies to HCAC Championship Match

Photo courtesy of Renee Knight
Photo courtesy of Renee Knight

Score: Franklin 1 | Anderson 0
Records: Franklin 13-4 | Anderson 10-4-3
Location: Faught Stadium | Franklin, Ind.

FRANKLIN, Ind. – Playing under the lights at a cold and rain-soaked Faught Stadium, the Franklin women's soccer team punched their ticket to a third straight Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) championship match with a 1-0 win over Anderson University.

Maddie Fleet scored the lone goal of the night just four minutes in. That proved to be more than enough for the Franklin defense, as the Grizzlies suffocated the Anderson attack all night long to earn their second straight shutout of the Ravens.

Although she had a streak of four straight multi-goal games snapped on Wednesday night, Fleet still maintained a torrid scoring pace with a goal in her eighth straight game. She connected for the game's lone goal just 3:32 into the match, taking a Taylor McDaniel pass down the left wing and curling a shot just inside the far post for her 24th goal of the year.

With the goal, Fleet moves within one tally of matching her own program record, which she set one year ago.

Fleet nearly made it a 2-0 game in the 11th minute, but her low shot from the left wing rang off the right post and stayed out to keep it a one-goal game.

The Ravens threated in the middle of the period, with their best chance coming in the 29th minute. She wasn't tested much, but Franklin goalkeeper Lexi Short was in perfect position to handle a Maddie Martin re-direction that would have evened up the match.

Martin's shot ended up being the final shot attempt for the Ravens on the night, as Franklin kept their opponent off the shot sheet for the final 60-plus minutes of action. Franklin finished the night with a dominant 21-2 advantage on the shot clock.

Short stopped both shots she faced to earn her sixth clean sheet of the year. At the other end of the pitch, Allyson Saylor turned aside five shots for Anderson.

Franklin moves on to Saturday night HCAC championship match, which takes place under the light at Faught Stadium. Standing in the way of the Grizzlies' first ever HCAC championship will be the Mount St. Joseph Lions. The Lions earned their spot in the HCAC title match with a 2-0 win over Hanover on Wednesday night, ending the Panthers' bid for a fifth straight conference title. Mount St. Joseph was the only team to defeat the Grizzlies in HCAC play, earning a 3-1 win back on Oct. 14.

Kickoff from Faught Stadium is set for 7:00 p.m.