Franklin's Mitchell too much for Owls

She scores four goals in 5-4 overtime victory

Girls soccer

September 30, 2001|By Nathan Max | Nathan Max,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Yesterday may not have been the best day Franklin senior forward Martha Mitchell had in her life, but it had to rank near the top.

Mitchell scored four goals, including the game-winner in overtime, and assisted on the other to lead the Indians to a stunning 5-4 upset over No. 6 Westminster last night in the final of the Lady Owls Invitational soccer tournament. Earlier yesterday, Mitchell scored four goals in Franklin's 6-1 semifinal victory over La Plata of Charles County.

"That's about as absolutely unbelievable as you can possibly get," Franklin coach George Wagner said of Mitchell's eight goals in one day. "They were no fluke goals either."

Earlier, No. 7 Hereford defeated La Plata, 5-0, in the third-place game, and Westminster downed Hereford, 3-0, in the other semifinal.

Mitchell scored her eighth and final goal of the day in dramatic fashion eight minutes into overtime. Senior midfielder Brandi Sproul, who had four assists in the final, drilled a direct free kick from 25 yards out off the crossbar. Mitchell then swooped into the penalty box and knocked the rebound past Westminster goalkeeper Carrie Serio.

"We won as a team. It wasn't just me," said Mitchell, as her teammates chanted her name in unison.

In a wild game, Westminster (5-1-1) held a clear edge in outshooting Franklin 19-7. The Owls also had seven corner kicks to one for Franklin (3-2-1), but the Indians made the most of their opportunities and scored three times less than a minute after a Westminster goal.

Franklin led 3-2 at halftime, but the Owls tied the score on a towering kick from senior forward Angel Aversa from 5 yards behind the penalty box in the 59th minute. Just one minute later, however, Mitchell scored her third goal of the game after a free kick from Sproul bounced in front of the goal.

Westminster mounted an intense attack in the final 20 minutes of regulation, and tied the score when senior midfielder Tirza Ridgely was taken down at the top right corner of the penalty box. Aversa buried the ensuing penalty kick inside the left post in the 75th minute to make it 4-4. The Owls looked like they scored the game-winner moments before the end of regulation, but an apparent goal was disallowed by a handball on the goal line.

In the first half, Westminster took a 1-0 lead on a goal by sophomore Alexa Ashwell in the 23rd minute. But seconds later, Mitchell took a cross from Sproul and buried a shot past Serio.

In the 37th minute, Mitchell fed a beautiful ball across the field to Ashley Harris, who slid a shot past Serio to give Franklin a 2-1 lead. Three minutes later for the Owls, Ridgely scored on a magnificent curling shot from the top left side of the box. But once again, the Indians answered immediately when Mitchell finished a corner kick from Sproul.

"Perhaps we were a little bit complacent," Westminster coach Bryan Shumaker said. "Those restarts give you a chance to organize something. After 10 or 15 minutes of working hard to get something, and right away we kind of let down."

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