There was no comeback this time around for Franklin Academy in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1A girls soccer state championship at N.C. State’s Dail Soccer Stadium.
The Patriots, which won the 2017 title in dramatic fashion, fell in this year’s repeat effort, 6-1 to Union Academy.
But coach Kambyl Borries had no regrets on the season that was.
After major graduation losses, only three of this year’s FA team were seniors. Yet they were back in the state title, adding to the Wake Forest charter school’s newfound prowess in the sport. The boys’ side was runner-up last fall and won the 2015 state title.
“We have a young team, we have a lot to grow into, and I knew no matter what, this was going to be a phenomenal experience either way,” Borries said. “You can’t leave this game upset, because either way you had a phenomenal season, right? I’m proud of my girls and what they did tonight, even if they’re not state champs. Runner-up is a pretty big accomplishment.”
In the first half, Union Academy (25-1) struck twice in 17 seconds, with Caleigh MacKinnon getting both of the goals. She added one more in the second half as one of two Cardinals with a hat trick – the other was Kelsey Havican.
MacKinnon was voted MVP of the match.
“She was wicked fast,” Borries said of MacKinnon.
The Cardinals went up 3-0 before Franklin Academy (22-2-1) answered on a Niamh Stephan goal in the 25th minute. Stephan won a 50-50 ball off a Union Academy defender to set herself up with a 1-v-1 look in the box, where she coolly slotted in the goal.
But unlike last year, when FA also fell behind 3-0 in a six-minute barrage, but rallied to tie the score at 3-3 win the game on penalty kicks (4-3), there was no such comeback.
Union Academy took a 3-1 lead into halftime and tallied three more in the second half.