In a battle between two No. 1 seeds, the Community School of Davidson won comfortably as it used a fast start to defeat Franklin Academy 5-1 In Saturday’s N.C. High School Athletic Association 1A girls soccer championship game at N.C. State’s Dail Soccer Field.
Wasting no time to assert its dominance, CSD opened the scoring in the 1st minute and led 3-0 after the first 28 minutes as Franklin Academy struggled to claw back in its first ever state championship game.
CSD senior forward Julia Grainda, a UNC-Charlotte signee, scored a team-high two goals and dished out a pair of assists as she was named the game’s most valuable player.
The state title is the Spartans’ second in three years and it caps off a near-perfect season for CSD (23-0-2), which never lost and won 23 of its 25 matches.
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“They wanted it, you could tell,” CSD coach Chad Solomonson said of his team’s performance. “In the locker room, they were loose, they were feeling good and feeling strong. In years past we haven’t had that mentality.”
Saturday’s game was a dream come true for Grainda, who missed the 2014 title game with a broken leg and the entirety of the 2015 season due to an ACL injury.
“It’s so rewarding. It was emotional for me and I’m glad I could be out there with everyone, because two years ago I was sitting on the sidelines in a wheelchair” Grainda said. “So now I was able to walk in finally. It was an emotional time.”
The moment was special for Solomonson, too.
“I shared my vision with the team about Julia holding up the trophy up right,” Solomonson said. “Two years ago she held it up on her wheelchair.”
Playing in its first game since junior striker Kiera Stephan suffered a torn ACL in Tuesday’s East Regional final, Franklin Academy (22-2) struggled to make up for the absence of its leading scorer.
Despite having some early chances, the Patriots couldn’t find the back of the net until the 62nd minute when freshman midfielder Kennedy Capps scored from the penalty spot. But by that point, it was far too late.
Franklin Academy coach Kambyl Borries gave full credit to CSD and said she didn’t think the outcome would have been much different, even if Stephan was able to play.
“I can’t say the game would have come out any differently because there are 10 other players on the (field) and it’s very much a team sport,” Borries said.
While the result was less than ideal for the Patriots, Borries thinks making the state championship game for the first time is a huge stepping stone for her program, which should return 19 of its 22 players in 2017.
“Getting this far now is going to be so inspirational for us next year,” Borries said.