Regional champs

The members of the Franklin County High School girls soccer team signal their status as the top team in the region after beating McMinn County 4-3 on Thursday in the championship game of their regional tournament.

The Franklin County High School girls soccer team beat the McMinn County Lady Cherokees 4-3 on the road Thursday in the championship game of their regional tournament.

Franklin County took the lead early in the second half and held it for the rest of the game as the team avenged a sub-state loss to McMinn County in 2020 and guaranteed a home game for their return trip to the sub-state round this year.

Franklin County head soccer coach Kent Bean said it felt good to return to McMinn County and pull out a win one year later.

“We’ve worked hard and put a lot of time into preparing for playing at this level. These girls have set the bar for where we want to be for years to come,” he said. “With this game last year, I think we let the situation overwhelm us a bit, but that definitely wasn’t the case this year.”

The Lady Cherokees were the first team on the board as they scored with a header off of a corner kick 13 minutes into the contest.

The deficit would not last for long as Ella Masters fired a shot into the net to tie the score at 1-1 with 22 minutes remaining in the first half.

The Lady Cherokees scored again to retake the lead by a score of 2-1 with 12 minutes to play before halftime.

However, Franklin County would find another equalizer just before halftime as Masters got her second goal of the day and her 14th of the season with 40 seconds remaining in the period.

The score was tied at 2-2 at halftime.

Franklin County carried its offensive momentum into the second half as Bella Bravo broke through for her third goal of the season to make it a 3-2 game just one minute into the period.

Baylor Russell would add to the Franklin County lead as she scored off of a pass from Kara McDaniel to push the deficit to 4-2 with 29 minutes remaining. The goal was Russell’s seventh of the year.

The Lady Cherokees were awarded a penalty kick a few minutes later, but Franklin County goalkeeper Brenna Carroll made the stop to keep the deficit at two.

The Lady Cherokees were able to score off of a free kick to make it a one-score game with nine minutes remaining. However, Franklin County held them off for the rest of the day to finish off the victory.

With the win, Franklin County improved to 12-3-2 on the season.

The girls soccer team will next play Saturday at home against Siegel High School in a sub-state game with a spot in the Class AAA state tournament on the line. A start time for the game had not been announced at the time of writing.