By MADISON BROWDER
MURFREESBORO – The Franklin Lady Rebels survived a late onslaught from Science Hill Wednesday to secure their second straight Class AAA state semifinal berth with a 2-1 win.
After scoring twice early in the first half, Franklin allowed a goal on a penalty kick with 10 minutes to play. What followed was a flurry of offensive attacks from the Lady Toppers due to a defensive breakdown by the Lady Rebels.
“I didn’t think we played really well tonight,” Franklin head coach Michael Burgoyne said. “We did counter well and had a couple scoring opportunities, which we did finish early in the game, but for a full 80 minutes it wasn’t our best game. We need to get better. But hey, we got a win, get to play the next day.”
Franklin jumped out to a 2-0 lead behind a goal by Caroline DeFranco in the sixth minute and one from Harper White in the 15th minute.
In the second half, the Lady Rebels mustered just three shots, while senior goalkeeper Holly Harris made six of her game-high eight saves.
“It was a good game,” Harris said. “It wasn’t necessarily the prettiest for us. We just needed to hold the ball a little better in the midfield. But I’m always fine to do a little bit of work [in net.]”
Franklin will battle Collierville in a semifinal Thursday at 4 p.m. at Richard Siegel Soccer Complex in Murfreesboro.
Harris and the Lady Rebels are no novices to the state tournament, losing in the finals last year to Clarksville.
“We’ve worked so hard [to get to this point,]” said Harris about earning a spot in the semifinals. “We weren’t sure how it was going to be this season, but we’re so excited to be back and hopefully we can get through to the championship again this year.”
Burgoyne said he hopes the near-catastrophic end to Wednesday’s game is a wakeup call for his team.
“I think it gets us more mentally prepared to play,” he stated. “We came in on kind of a high, winning a couple big games, and I think going up early may have been a bit of an ego boost when we didn’t need an ego boost because we weren’t playing well.”