University School of Nashville and Franklin Road Academy met four times on the soccer field this season.
After getting shut out in the three previous meetings, USN won the matchup that mattered. Freshman Karishma Patel scored six minutes into the first overtime Saturday for a 1-0 victory in the Division II-A final.
“We just wanted to prove to ourselves we could beat FRA,” said Patel, who scored off a throw-in by Leah Fassinger and a touch by Elena Escalas.
“That was the best we’ve played. We played well as a team and played pressure defense.”
With USN (20-3-1) dropping previous decisions by scores of 1-0, 2-0 and 2-0, Coach Wendy Holleman-Howe channeled the motivational speech from the movie “Miracle” to get her team prepared to win its first state championship.
“I just told them, 9 out of 10 times, they’re probably going to beat us, but this is our time, our game,” Holleman-Howe said. “I think FRA’s been in their head, but we’ve gotten great senior leadership. They’ve done a great job of getting the girls fired up and focused.”
FRA (22-3-1) advanced into the title game with an overtime win Friday against St. George’s. Coach Ken McDonald said a second OT contest in consecutive days took a bit of a toll on his team.
FRA got off 17 shots, with USN goalkeeper Katie Roth recording 10 saves. However, the Lady Panthers didn’t manage a shot in either of the 10-minute overtime periods, while USN had four.
“We were a little fatigued,” McDonald said. “We expended a lot (Friday), and we didn’t have the sharpness we usually have to break down a team like that defensively. We knew it was probably going to be a one-goal game. Sometimes, that’s the way the game goes.”