FRANKLIN — In a tie game and less than 15 minutes remaining in Monday’s Division 1 East girls’ lacrosse semifinal, Concord-Carlisle senior Payton Vaughn put the game in her hands.
First, the captain charged through the middle of the Franklin defense, finishing high-to-low for a goal for 10-9 lead. Then, she caught a feed from her sister, Fallon (2 goals), and scored in front of the crease. A minute later, the midfielder stutter-stepped at the top left of the cage to shake her defender, and buried her sixth and final goal of the evening.
Her three goals in less than four minutes gave No. 3 seed C-C the separation it needed in an eventual 14-10 win at second-seeded Franklin (14-6).
The Patriots (15-6) will take on top seed Walpole (20-0) in the East final Thursday in Natick.
“Payton comes up with unbelievable draw controls, ground balls,” C-C coach Paul Morrison said.
“The midfielders, Molly Dibble, Payton Vaughn and Sadie O’Neil really kept us, got us back in the game when we were down early by starting to win a string of draw controls.”
A year ago, Franklin pounded the Patriots 16-7 in the D1 South tourney behind seven goals from Annie Walsh.
In Monday’s matchup, Morrison assigned sophomore Courtney Sepucha to face guard the goal scorer. Sepucha provided Walsh little room to maneuver and the Franklin junior did not score.
The lockdown defense uprooted the Franklin offense which played several offensive six-on-six, one player short, as Walsh stood off to the side to provide room for her teammates.
“I thought we had some good looks,” Franklin coach Kristin Igoe said. “(We just had) moments where we couldn’t take care of the ball or finish. Even with Annie face guarded we believe in all six people to score.”
Walsh’s younger sister, Erin, scored back-to-to back goals and teammate Kelsey MacCallum (3 goals) added another to give Franklin the lead at the start of the second half. But it wouldn’t hold.
Eventually Vaughn took off on her three-goal onslaught, propelling the Patriots on to the next round.Josh Schafer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.