PITSBURG – Just 10 days ago the Franklin Monroe Lady Jets soccer team lost 2-1 to Greeneview and found itself matched up with the Rams again on Tuesday in the opening round of the Ohio High School Athletic Association sectional tournament.
Franklin Monroe was more than happy to turn the tables with a satisfying 2-1 win to advance to the second round of the OHSAA tournament where the Jets will take on Dayton Christian.
Things couldn’t have started better for the Jets as Bryanna Diceanu received a high forward pass off the foot of Shelby Bowser just over her shoulder, and Diceanu timed it perfectly, splitting two defenders with a kick just strong enough to get by the goalie, and with just three minutes off the clock the home team led 1-0.
“It was a great start,” FM coach Scott Howell said. “It was our strategy to try and score early, and if we got one in the first 10 minutes we were going to drop back and conserve our energy and frustrate them.
“We are about a 65-minute team due to our size, and we have to play according to our personnel. We were able to force Greeneview to do a lot of running while saving our legs for the second half,” Howell said.
The plan was working as the defense did a nice job of clearing the ball and kicking if up the field with Greeneview chasing.
However, the Rams found an opening late in the first half on an athletic somersault throw-in that caught the defense laying back and letting the ball bounce. It would be just high enough to get over the top of the goalie and into the top of the net to tie the game 1-1 at the half.
In the second half the Lady Jets had the wind with them and they used it to their advantage, taking it right at the Rams.
“We pressured them real hard, plus they had the wind against them, and I believe it started to wear them down,” Howell said.
With 18 minutes left to play Alison Flora fed a pass into the corner where Diceanu, the Cross County Conference player of the year, met it and smashed it low from about 18 yards out, and even though the keeper got her hand on the ball it deflected into the net to give FM a 2-1 lead.
Greeneview made one more run with a shot at tying the game with eight minutes to go.
The Rams had a corner kick that got cleared, but one of the midfielders sent it right back in, and Masterson tried to make the save but couldn’t quite get there.
Good fortune was on the side of FM as Anna Flora was in the right place at the right time to make a header save … but it sent the ball right back out in the middle, leading to another kick, and once again it was Flora who chested it out.
“That was a game changing moment,” Howell said. “They had us by the numbers, and when you have a non-goalie stepping into the spot to make a play without her hands that’s pretty special,”
There would be no more heart stopping moments over the last eight minutes of the game, and as the clock wound down it was Franklin Monroe moving on where the Jets will travel to Dayton Christian at 7 p.m. Saturday to try and avenge a 3-2 loss earlier in the year.