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Franklin Academy falters in final minute of state championship game

Union Academy bests Patriots again to capture 1A title

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RALEIGH — With 53 seconds left in the final Golden Goal overtime period, Union Academy notched the game-winning goal to beat Franklin Academy's girls soccer team in the 1A state championship at N.C. State on Saturday.

The score was tied 1-1 entering the final minute - if the Patriots held on for another 53 seconds, the championship game would be decided by penalty kicks. However, Union Academy defeated Franklin Academy in the state championship game for the second year in a row.

"Union Academy is a top-notch program," Franklin Academy head coach John Crosland said. "Sometimes the ball just doesn't go your way."

Union Academy scored the first goal of the game midway between the first half. With less than 18 minutes left in regulation, Ashlynn Stephan scored a long goal for Franklin Academy to tie the match at 1-1. 

The game went into two 10-minute overtime periods and no one scored, sending the game into Golden Goal, which means the first team who scores wins. 

Neither team got the ball into the back of the net in the first Golden Goal period. Then with less than a minute left in the second Golden Goal period, Union Academy's Sarah Brown kicked the ball into the back of the net, ending the game with a Union Academy victory.

Despite the championship loss, John Crosland praised his team for putting up a good effort. He talked about how all six seniors on the roster made a big difference for the program this year.

"Our senior leaders led us well," Crosland said. "They put us in position to be successful all year long. All the girls worked hard."

Franklin Academy was undefeated heading into the championship match against Union Academy. The Cardinals were also undefeated at 22-0. At the end of the day, it was the Patriots who experienced their first loss of the season. 

Crosland said he wants his girls to be ready for next year and try to make another run at a state title. 

"It's about inner desire for next year," Crosland said. "No one likes to lose in the state championship. We'll step up and learn from this loss and be ready for next year."