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November 12, 2012

Franklin girls run into buzzsaw


Downin’s 15th goal of the season gave Franklin a 1-0 lead 3 minutes, 43 seconds into play.

Poland tied it five minutes later, capitalizing on Haley Downin’s lone mistake.

Sullivan was fouled 20 yards out on the left side, setting up a free kick. Sullivan took the kick and sent what seemed like a harmless liner at Downin. But the ball powered through Downin’s hands and into the goal to tie the score.

“With Paige, I expected (Downin) would make that save. But if we didn’t get that one, there were other opportunities,” said Poland coach Tom Basel, whose team will play Section Five’s Jasper-Troupsburg at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in a state semifinal at Homer High. “I would say from that point on, it was maybe an 80-20 possession game for us. When you possess the ball that much, you’re going to be successful.”

In patches, Poland looked like the Showtime Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s, attacking Franklin’s goal with frequent odd-man rushes or breakaways.

Though the statistics credited Haley Downin with eight saves, she thwarted at least that many opportunities by rushing off her line and getting to balls just before Poland’s forwards.

Downin made a diving save near the left post to snare a liner off of Blumenstock’s foot with 29:10 left and made another diving save to stop Blumenstock two minutes later. She then stopped Blumenstock from point-blank range, correctly guessing she’d go far post. When the ball deflected off of Downin, she stopped two more attempts from close range by Tara Seigle from the opposite side of the goal — those coming with 16 ½ minutes left.

“She’s the best keeper we’ve faced all season,” Basel said of Downin, who’ll play for Division I Binghamton University next season. “She’s an outstanding goalie, so we had to be crafty to beat her.”

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