GRATIS – The Franklin Monroe Lady Jets, who advanced to the second round of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division III sectional soccer tournament, took on Preble Shawnee Thursday night.
The Jets knew it would take a monumental effort to beat the Arrows and advance to the sectional final. Preble Shawnee had two all-state players that were skilled and very athletic.
For nearly 40 minutes, the entire first half, the Jets held the high-scoring Arrows scoreless and in fact had only given up a few actual kicks on goal as they employed a defensive strategy that was designed to frustrate the other team.
The plan was working, and frustration had started to mount for Preble Shawnee. But in the last 30 seconds of the first half a crack in the shield opened, and Preble Shawnee fired an arrow that was straight and true into the back of the net, and the Jets trailed at the half 1-0.
“Our game plan worked to a ‘T’ but for about 18-22 seconds … but you’ll have that,” Franklin Monroe girls soccer coach Scott Howell said.
In the second half the Jets became more aggressive minded in picking the right spots to attack offensively, knowing that at any time Preble Shawnee’s skilled players could beat them to the net and score … but trailing by a goal they had to press it more.
The play by goalie Allison Masterson was superb on the night, and in the second half as she came up with a number of good saves.
Franklin Monroe played with heart and was very spirited but just didn’t have enough offensive fire power to get many shots on goal and eventually fell to the Arrow 1-0.
“I’m so proud of these girls. They played with tremendous heart, especially in the second half, and at times that is what we were missing as a team this year,” Howell said.
“They played 40 minutes with everything they had and left it all on the field in the second half. We just didn’t have lot of opportunities … and only giving up one goal to a very good team is nothing to hang your head about,” Howell added.
“We lose three seniors, Rebecca Shellabarger, who was a first-year player and contributed a lot through the season. Hanna Staton and Cassie Shellabarger have been four-year players and done a very good job as leaders and led our team as leaders should do. Obviously they are upset because we came up short … but they left it on the field tonight,” Howell said.
“Our future is looking bright, and I’m looking forward to December to getting some open gyms. With girls soccer every year is a new year. We would like to get our numbers up and start with the basics … but we will need to improve our consistency and to learn how to play with heart every game,” Howell concluded.