Franklin Academy’s girls soccer team prepares for every match on Raleigh Charter’s home turf, a WakeMed Soccer Park auxiliary field, as a big game on a big field. There are two reasons for that.
One, the Phoenix is FA’s perennial rival in the North Central Athletic Conference. The conference title is usually at stake, and it was when the teams met Friday.
The other reason is WakeMed Soccer Park has bigger dimensions than Franklin’s field.
That can work against the Patriots, but this year their strong passing team exploited the extra real estate for a 4-2 victory in the first of two meetings between the rivals.
Franklin Academy (12-2, 9-0) now has a two-game lead on Raleigh Charter (9-2, 8-2) and three on Woods Charter (8-4-1, 7-3) with five games left.
“We get nervous coming out to their bigger field, so there was a lot of preparation,” said FA coach Kambyl Borries. “I was happy with how the girls made use of the space given to them. Their goalie was solid, but we took advantage of as many opportunities as we could.”
Raleigh Charter struck first on a goal by senior Karly Dreyer, the team’s leading scorer.
But FA responded with four unanswered goals – three in the first half and one to open the second half.
Senior Natalie Barth, sophomore Kennedy Capps, freshman Ashlynn Stephan scored goals in the first half and senior Anna Krussow provided a 4-1 lead in the second half.
Raleigh Charter’s second goal was scored by Charlotte Rhodes on a penalty kick.
“The first 15 or 20 minutes we played well with possession and passing,” Raleigh Charter coach Steve Grosso said. “But they got that first goal then the momentum shifted.”