In the most recent Maxpreps girls’ soccer national poll, Williamson County programs Franklin and Ravenwood were ranked Nos. 1 and 2.
On Thursday at Franklin, the second-ranked Lady Raptors secured sole possession of the stacked District 12-AAA with a 2-1 win over the top-ranked Lady Rebels in a clash of the state’s and nation’s best.
“I’m so proud of the girls because they stepped up and played amazing in a big challenge,” Ravenwood coach Jose Londono said. “It was awesome to see a huge crowd for this game and it was fantastic for our teams and our district.
“Our girls worked hard for this one tonight and it wasn’t just against anybody, it was against Franklin.”
Ravenwood entered 0-3-1 in the last four matches against the Lady Rebels. The win pushed the Lady Raptors (9-0, 3-0) into sole possession of first place in the district and essentially secured the regular season crown and a Region 6-AAA automatic bid with just two matches remaining.
“It was a tough battle out there and I thought for the first 65 minutes, we did everything we needed to win,” Franklin coach Mike Burgoyne said. “A couple unfortunate injuries changed our approach, but it is just crazy how quickly the tide can turn on you.”
The Lady Rebels (9-1, 3-1) scored in the final minute of the first half when Madeline Ash fired a low shot from the top of the box toward the left post. The 1-0 advantage broke 39 minutes of building pressure on both teams as some relief showed for the home team after the tally.
Fast forward to the 63rd where Ravenwood striker Anna Augustini collided with Franklin keeper Jean Costello on the move. The collision sent Costello out of the game with an injury and resulted in a yellow on Augustini.
In the 65th, Augustini returned and scored the equalizer in a crowded box – her fourth goal in three matches. Less than 30 seconds later, Mia Fraser gave the Lady Raptors the lead with another goal in a lightning fast exchange.
“You can’t rehearse those,” Londono said of the sequence. “It happened in a blink of an eye where we made good decisions in a game with limited opportunities, limited space and limited options because it was so fast-paced.”
Augustini had two more looks following the quick barrage, but couldn't convert. Franklin ramped up the pressure over the final 13 minutes but managed just one look on goal when Harper White fired high in the 75th.
Ravenwood was coming off a 2-0 win at Independence last week and a 2-1 win over Brentwood the week before that. The Lady Raptors play a weather make-up contest Saturday at 10 a.m. at Summit (1-2) and close the regular season Tuesday at home against Centennial (0-3-1).
Franklin’s final district contest is Thursday at Independence (2-1-1).
“We knew going into this match that if you win this district, then you have a great shot at getting state, but if your’e not the top seed, you have to battle just to get out of the district,” Burgoyne said. “There are three teams that can win state this year in our district and that’s why they celebrated at the end and our heads went down.
"We have to regroup.”