Score: Franklin 1 | Arcadia 3
Records: Franklin 14-5 | Arcadia 16-5
Location: CMU Soccer Field | Pittsburgh, Pa.
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The Franklin College women's soccer team stepped on the pitch Saturday night for the first NCAA Tournament game in program history, taking on the Knight of Arcadia University.
The Grizzlies were the first team on the board Saturday night, but a second half wave from the Knights proved to be too much for Franklin to overcome. The Grizzlies saw their season come to an end under the light, falling 3-1 to the Knights.
The opening 45 minutes was an evenly-played contest, with both sides trading chances throughout the opening 45 minutes. Rachel Hawkins, Clare Lenart, Kelsey Brunsman and Taylor McDaniel all had looks for the Grizzlies in the opening half, but each was denied by Arcadia goalkeeper Brianna Williams. The Knights put five shots on target in the opening half, but each one was turned aside by Franklin's Lexi Short.
Short came up with another big stop early in the second half to keep the game scoreless. Franklin's first shot of the second half resulted in the opening goal, when Maddie Fleet sprang Lenart on a breakaway in the 54th minute. With only Williams in front of her, Lenart fired a shot past the Knights' goalkeeper for her eighth goal of the year and a 1-0 Franklin lead.
But it was all Knights the rest of the way, as Arcadia outshot the Grizzlies 15-0 after the opening goal. Short was able to keep the Knights at bay until the 79th minute when Kayla Haberbosch headed home a crossing pass for the tying marker.
Four minutes later, the Knight took the lead on a one-touch goal from Mia Bertolami. The Knight would dominate possession the rest of the way, getting an extra goal in the final seconds of the game to close things out.
Short was brilliant in goal for the Grizzlies, finishing the night with nine saves on 12 shots on goal. Lenart led the Grizzlies with three shot attempts and a pair of shots on goal. The Knights finished the night with a 26-6 advantage in shot attempts.
It was the final game in the careers of Lenart, Hannah McIntosh, Jillian Lawrence, Jo List, Emily Stayer, Brunsman, Bret Roberts, and Abby Stayer. During their time with the program, the four were part of 58 wins, two HCAC regular season championships, three appearances in the HCAC championship game and the program's first HCAC title and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2017.