Jordyn Ploski

Maplewood’s Jordyn Ploski (45) scores on a penalty kick in the second half of Thursday’s game against Franklin.

TOWNVILLE — For the second time this season, the Tigers and Franklin Knights played to a 2-1 final score. Only this time, it was Maplewood who emerged victorious thanks to two second-half goals from Maya Marshall and Jordan Ploski. 

After snapping a four-game goalless streak at Conneaut Area on Tuesday, the locals ended a winless dry spell after five matches.

Both sides put together an evenly competitive first half, sending in five shots each. However, the Knights held the edge in shots on goal in the opening frame, eventually leading the game’s first goal.

After the Knights drew a corner kick, their initial chance was directed past the goal line by a Tiger defender, setting up another opportunity for the visitors. The delivery from Hailey Yard was low towards the near-bottom corner, and was met immediately by Rylee Mattocks, who chipped the ball into the open net, giving Franklin a 1-0 lead. 

In the second half, the Maplewood defense stood firm like a brick wall, allowing only four shots, none of which challenged goalkeeper Natalie Slagle.

With the defense making stops on their end, it was up to the offense to try and lock down an equalizer. A hard-fought battle inside the penalty area garnered the Tigers a free shot from 12 yards out. Ploski stepped up to take the chance, driving her shot past the Knights netminder’s right side to knot the game at 1-1.

It did not take much longer for Maplewood to generate another attack, as another shot from Ploski ricocheted off a Knights defender and out of play, sending the junior defender to the right corner. The line drive shot from Ploski arrived at the near post where Marshall used her upper body to send the ball into the back of the net and give the Tigers the 2-1 advantage.

The locals escaped the late push by Franklin as a Knights attacker seemed to go down inside the penalty box. However the only call that came from the referees was the final whistle, securing Maplewood’s third win of the 2020 season. 

The Tigers totaled 18 shots on the afternoon, including six on goal. Slagle faced only three shots on goal from Franklin, tallying two saves.

The win for the locals was a bitter-sweet moment, as Natalie Kurt had to be helped off the field late in the first half due to an apparent ankle injury. This leaves a significant hole for the Tigers who have already suffered a number of injuries so far this season. 

Maplewood (3-6) will make the short journey to Carter Field in Titusville on Monday to try and complete the season-sweep of the Rockets. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m.

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