Ten minutes into Monday’s championship match of the Rotary Capital City Classic, all the scoring was over.
The last 70 minutes were a defensive battle that ended with Franklin County’s girls soccer team defeating Western Hills 2-1 at Sower Soccer Complex.
“At the beginning of the season we had a goal sheet with three goals, three things we want to accomplish,” said FCHS goalkeeper Kerrigan Brown, who was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. “The top two were beat Western Hills and win the Capital City Classic, and we just did that.”
The two teams met last year for the championship with WHHS winning in sudden death penalty kicks.
Monday’s match was nearly as close.
The Lady Flyers (3-0) scored 40 seconds into the match on a penalty kick by Kerry Taylor.
FCHS extended its lead to 2-0 when Emily Wilkerson scored off an assist from Sammie Arnold with 32:21 left in the first half.
Just over three minutes later, WHHS’ Caroline Orange connected on a shot to make the score 2-1. Lucy Buchanan had the assist.
That was the last goal of the game, coming at the 29:12 mark of the first half, although both teams had chances to score again.
“It’s a great way to start the season, 3-0,” FCHS coach Jon Sutphin said. “We talked to the girls the other day, and we don’t think last year we had back-to-back wins.
“We started strong but lost a little bit in the latter part of the first half, and the second half was back and forth. Both teams had opportunities.”
The Lady Wolverines (2-1) mounted a serious scoring threat late in the game but couldn’t convert.
“I feel like we could have done better,” WHHS’ Lexie Richardson said about the tournament, “but it’s as good as it’s going to be for us.
“It takes us awhile to finish. I thought we were connecting with shots, but we couldn’t seem to get them in.”
Franklin County’s defense held in the final minutes to seal the win.
“The four girls who had the majority of back line time, two are freshmen and one’s a sophomore,” Sutphin said. “They played tremendously for us, and we have several others we can mix in.” Those four players are freshmen Madeline Clements and Hailey Allen, sophomore Kayla Schneider and junior Megin Case.
“Emily Wilkerson was fabulous up top,” Sutphin said. “She hit more goalposts and crossbars this tournament. We’ve started calling her goalpost at practice.”
Brown saw good things out of her team Monday.
“We were keeping our shape throughout the whole game,” she said. “Our wings had a lot of out-kicks, and I’m really grateful for those. If we didn’t have those the ball would be back in the goal.”
Brown was one of four Lady Flyers named to the all-tournament team. The others were Arnold, Clements and Wilkerson.
WHHS players named to the all-tournament team were Richardson, goalkeeper MacKenzie Jones and Harper Jones. Rounding out the team were Frankfort High’s Audrey Hall and Serena Frye, and Shelby County’s Cali Mills and Morgan Rood.
Shelby County took third place in the tournament.
“There were 10 to 12 girls who could have easily been on the all-tournament team,” Sutphin said about his team, “and there were six or eight girls who could have easily been MVP, but Kerrigan did a tremendous job in goal for us the whole tournament.”
Both teams return to action Wednesday. Western Hills hosts Shelby County, and FCHS travels to Owen County.
“This will fuel them for the rest of the season,” WHHS assistant coach Benji Toncray said about the Lady Wolverines.
To see more photos from this match, click here.