Franklin Academy had its way with East Wake Academy during the regular season, and evidently the postseason wasn’t going to be any different.
Kiera Stephan scored four goals and Anna Krussow added three more and an assist as the host Patriots rolled to a 10-1 victory Saturday morning in a N.C. High School Athletic Association 1A second-round girls soccer game.
Franklin (19-1), the top seed in the 1A East, led 7-0 at halftime and ended East Wake’s season when Stephan scored off an assist from Kennedy Capps with 22 minutes, 59 seconds remaining in the second half to produce the mercy-rule stoppage. Next up is a third-round contest Wednesday against either Woods Charter or Lejeune.
“Since the guys won states (in the fall), we’re pushed to win states this season,” said Stephan, referring to the Franklin boys’ 3-1 victory over Community School of Davidson in the state 1A title game back in November. “Every win that we get, we’ll take it and hope that we can go on and get the state title.”
Franklin won the two games against its North Central Athletic Conference foe during the regular season, topping the Eagles 9-0 at home on March 23 and 7-0 at East Wake on April 25.
On Saturday, EWA started off fairly well, garnering much of the possession time in the opening couple of minutes and mustering offensive pressure that produced shots by Madi Hempstead and Gaby Toussaint. But it didn’t take long for Franklin to seize control, the Patriots scoring twice in a span of 2½ minutes early in the first half.
After receiving a throw-in from Madison Geigle deep in EWA territory, Krussow sent a well-placed through ball ahead to Stephan, who easily scored from about 12 yards out for the 1-0 lead with 35:51 left in the opening half.
Capps made it 2-0 when her shot in traffic off a corner kick from Abigail Wade deflected off the left post and into the net with 33:30 remaining.
From there, the Patriots continued to administer heavy pressure. Stephan scored on a penalty kick with 24:52 left in the first half after an EWA defender was called for a handball in the box, and Krussow scored back-to-back goals – both assisted by Niamh Stephan – to increase Franklin’s lead to 5-0 about 18 minutes into play.
“They know they have the talent, and when they’re playing well, it looks good,” said Franklin assistant coach Marc Kassay, filling in for head coach Kambyl Borries, who was out of town.
East Wake Academy averted the shutout when Toussaint scored with 34:15 remaining in the first half to draw the Eagles within 7-1.
It marked the first goal EWA has ever scored against Franklin Academy, according to Eagles coach Michael Sloop. The celebration was short lived as Franklin re-established its dominance moments later, eventually sealing things with a three-goal outburst in span of just over two minutes midway through the second half.
Despite the lopsided outcome, the Eagles were able to take some solace in the fact that they had advanced to the second round of the state playoffs for the first time after defeating Cape Hatteras, 9-0, on Wednesday.
“It was really a great season,” said Toussaint, who with fellow seniors Skylar Kittrell, Ashley Johnson and Marizell Lim suited up for East Wake for the last time. “We’ve improved so much over the years, sometimes you run into a team like this that is really, really good.
“We gave it our all, and I think the program is going to continue to develop and get better.”