“Sheer will” was the deciding factor in the eyes of Franklin Regional Head Coach Lukas Petersen as his #11 side stunned #3 ranked Moon Area High School to advance to the next round of the 3A WPIAL Playoffs thanks to two goals from Tyler Pipon.
Having come off a 4-0 victory over Mars in the previous round, it was a much closer affair this time around as the game was forced into extra time, but the head coach was keen to praise his players for their ability to handle such a crazy affair:
“I knew the boys would pull through, they showed incredible heart. I’ve been extremely tough on these kids all year, and they came through for me and for the whole team. Grinding it out, everybody played their hearts out and I’m just so proud of the boys. Coming into Moon Area High School is always a challenge, and I’m just proud.”
“It was won through sheer will. It wasn’t the prettiest… it was two top program’s slugging it out and we were just fortunate to come out on top.”
How it happened
Moon were by far the stronger of the two sides during the opening exchanges, with forwards Michael Walenchok and Aiden Costa leading the majority of their offensive chances, including a couple of shots that stung the gloves of Franklin stopper Noah Walker and a smart goal line clearance from Benjamin Poole.
It was the visitors though who took the lead right on the stroke of halftime against the run of play. A deep freekick from the halfway line wasn’t dealt with by the home side and after a brief bit of pinball, it was stabbed home by Tyler Pipon from close range to give the visitors the edge going into halftime.
Franklin took that momentum into the second half and started to take the game to the hosts with a couple of chances of their own, the best being Joey Bayne’s quick turn in the box that forced a fine save from Zachary Shutak at his near post.
The home side tried desperately to get back into the game, and it was Walenchok who had the best chance of the night, as he got on the end of a Davi Jansson cross but blasted the ball wide from ten yards out. It was Davi Jansson though who saved the tie for Moon and forced extra time, bundling home after Noah Walker had pushed away Walenchok’s initial effort.
The biggest event of the first half of extra time came off the field as the game’s referee took umbridge with Franklin head coach Lukas Petersen’s heated exchanges with the officials and sent him into the locker room to cool down.
The game was finally decided a tick before the 100th minute as Tyler Pipon grabbed his second of the game, sweeping home from inside the box to send the visitors into ecstasy, and into the next round.
2 – Moon denied possible penalty for handball
30 – Benjamin Poole clears ball off the line after Aiden Costa’s cross
37 – Tyler Pipon scrambles home opening goal
52 – Joey Bayne comes inches away from doubling visitor’s lead
64 – Noah Walker makes brave 1v1 stop to deny Michael Walenchok as he’s through on goal
65 – Franklin denied possible penalty for handball
72 – Michael Walenchok misses guilt-edge chance to bring the sides level
79 – Davi Jansson scores dramatic equaliser
81 – Joey Bayne forces header wide from close range
91 – Franklin head coach Lukas Petersen sent to the locker room by the referee
99 – Franklin wins game thanks to Tyler Pipon’s close range effort
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