“After we scored the first goal, I think they kind of took control of the game,” said Franklin head coach Tom Geysen.
With a 1-0 deficit to start the second half, Simpson decided to move O’Connor up to the midfield. O’Connor has been the anchor in back all season long, but her offensive presence gave Beverly more chances up top.
“I thought our defense was handling Franklin’s forwards pretty well,” Simpson said. “I didn’t think they got too many quality opportunities, so I figured I’d push Kristen up to midfield. She’s actually really good at generating the attack and I thought we needed that, because we weren’t finding Caitlin (Harty) at all. I was trying to do anything I could to get the ball up top more.”
O’Connor made herself known in the midfield and helped develop a handful of runs for Harty, which yielded in some of Beverly’s best scoring chances of the game.
Simpson called timeout with 20:36 to play and made the decision to move Cook to the midfield and Rachel Kenney into goal. Kenney played between the pipes throughout the regular season, but it was Cook who had held it down during the Panthers’ playoff run.
“We were down by one with 20 minutes left ... there’s nothing you can do but go for it,” O’Connor said. “You lose 1-0 or 5-0; a loss is a loss.”
Cook did spark the offense, but a turnover in Beverly’s defensive end led to another Franklin goal. Sophomore Taylor Cogliano made a move around a Panther defender for a wide open shot. Kenney came out to cut down the angle, but Cogliano got the shot off before Kenney could make the save.
“We knew they had made the change, and it was all the more reason to pressure the new keeper,” Geysen said. “She’s not warmed up yet, and maybe we could sneak one by her. We tried to put as much pressure on her as we could.
“There was no relief after we scored the second goal though. We had a 3-0 lead over Oliver Ames (during the South sectional), and they scored two goals in less than a minute and a half. When the whistle blows, that’s the relief. I told the kids that you have to fight for all 80 minutes.”