DAILY JOURNAL SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
Behind a pair of goals by Delanie Hill, Franklin edged tournament host Whiteland 2-1 in Tuesday’s opening round of the Class 2A girls soccer sectional.
The nip and tuck affair produced a number of scoring chances and a lot of battling in midfield for possession before Jimmy Wiltsee’s Franklin squad came out on top over Alyson Cotter’s young Whiteland team.
Franklin coach Jimmy Wiltsee credited his team’s determination for the win.
“We played a great game and Whiteland has improved so much,” Wiltsee said. “They are well-coached and came out ready to go. We wanted this. We had a team dinner last night and had a long talk, and we wanted this, and we want Thursday, as well.
“I believe we can win any game we step onto the field to play.”
Franklin (11-4-2) plays Center Grove (11-4-1) Thursday in a second-round matchup.
The Grizzly Cubs had beaten Whiteland in the regular season 5-3 after trailing by three goals. Tuesday, Franklin created a couple of early scoring opportunities through sound passing. But timely interventions, first by Whiteland defender Mckenzie McCoy and then by goalkeeper Jenny Gonzalez, kept the match scoreless.
Hill opened the scoring after she was brought down in the penalty area on a run through the middle. She converted the penalty kick with 16:54 remaining in the first half to put Franklin up 1-0.
Whiteland freshmen Madisyn Proctor and Kailee Joseph provided a scoring threat for the Warriors with their speed in the forward line, but Franklin defender Sarah Sullivan was an active presence in the back line for the Cubs, chasing down a number of good passes from Whiteland’s Emily Williams. Sullivan’s work, which continued throughout the contest, helped preserve the 1-0 score at halftime.
Whiteland tied the game 13 minutes into the second half when junior forward Katie Evans scored from close range to make it 1-1.
As the half went on, Whiteland began winning the midfield battles consistently, keeping possession of the ball and putting pressure on the Franklin goal.
But Hill played a slick one-two passing combination with her sister, Emilie, and lifted a shot into the back of the net from the edge of the 18-yard box to make it 2-1 for Franklin with 20 minutes remaining.
The Warriors finished the season 9-7-1.