SHELBYVILLE — Franklin Central focused on defense all week during practice. The Flashes didn’t have a choice, not facing Center Grove in the regional semifinals Wednesday night. Not against a Center Grove team that came in averaging nearly four goals per game.
The strategy worked, and the Flashes got just enough offense to walk away with a 2-1 double-overtime win and earn a date with Greenfield-Central in the regional championship. Sophomore Savannah Kellum scored the winner midway through the first overtime period.
“As I was running, I was like, ‘I’m not giving up one more ball,’” Kellum said. “I was going to make this one count and I knew I had a good shot. I took it when it mattered.”
The Trojans defense frustrated Kellum in regulation, but Flashes coach Mia Moody had a message for her.
“She was getting frustrated in the first half and second half because they had two people on her,” she said. “I told her, ‘You only need one look.’ She got her one look.”
Rylie Simmons gave Franklin Central a 1-0 lead in the first 10 minutes, but the Trojans’ Athena Passafiume scored the equalizer early in the second half. But that was all they could muster on offense, despite having numerous chances in the closing minutes of regulation and overtime.
“They just outhustled us and outplayed us for the majority of the game,” said Center Grove coach Mike Bishop. “They got a fortuitous bounce early to put us on our heels. We got the equalizer which was good, but we couldn’t finish shots. Our girls played hard, we just couldn’t get any shots.”
Greenfield-Central knocked off Roncalli 2-1 in the other regional semifinal. Greenfield-Central’s Trystan Ailes scored 18 minutes in, but Josie Asher scored the equalizer just 4 minutes later. Greenfield-Central got a goal later in the half from Madelyn Trapp.
“We have worked harder this season than we have ever worked,” Greenfield-Central coach Erin Clark said. “It is all paying off in these types of the games.”
The Rebels put pressure on Greenfield goalkeeper Kayla Enochs, who had six saves.
“You’ve got to create something and they did a good job of shutting us down,” Roncalli coach Maurice Schilten said. “We kept the ball most of the second half. We did all we could, and I guess it wasn’t meant to be.”
Greenfield-Central and Franklin Central meet at 5 p.m. Saturday in Shelbyville. Both teams are looking for their first regional title.