SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

November 15, 2012

Resilient Beverly girls soccer falls in state semifinals to unbeaten Franklin

LYNN — It was the type of tournament run that high school teams dream about.

The Beverly High girls soccer team never expected a postseason quite like the one it experienced this fall, but relished in the underdog role that carried it all the way to Division 1 state semifinals.

Though it wasn’t the outcome they were hoping for, the Panthers certainly had nothing to hang their heads about after a 2-0 loss to Franklin last night at Manning Field.

“We had an amazing season,” said Beverly junior sweeper Kristen O’Connor. “No one expected us to go this far. No one on our team even expected it; we just thought about winning a few playoff games.

“I have no complaints — everybody worked so hard to get to this point.”

South champion Franklin (also nicknamed the Panthers) remain undefeated at 21-0-1 and punched their ticket to the Division 1 state final against Nashoba tomorrow night in Worcester.

Franklin took an early 1-0 lead after Beverly was called for a foul and senior captain Kristi Kirshe was awarded a free kick from 28 yards out. Kirshe’s shot ricocheted off the left post and past goalkeeper Casey Cook.

“It was a nice shot. You have to expect that from an All-American, that she’s going to put a shot like that away,” Beverly head coach Kristin Simpson said of Kirshe. “You can’t have any fouls on top of the box like that in the semifinals. It was a couple of the pregame jitters that we carried with us through the first half.”

Beverly (18-4) had back-to-back corners later in the first, but couldn’t capitalize on those chances. The Panthers generated more offensive chances in the first half, though the score favored Franklin.

Sophomore Eva Gourdeau produced most of the scoring opportunities for Beverly and was one of the better players on the field for her team during the first half.

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