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TJ has title in pocket

October 18, 2000

TJ has title in pocket



No. 1 Patriots win FredCo tourney again vs. Knights

By DAN SPEARS / Staff Writer


FREDERICK, Md. - Thomas Johnson girls soccer coach Chuck Nichols admits a little too much emotion can be a bad thing.

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"It's a championship match. The play isn't always what you want it to be as a coach," Nichols said.

Nichols may not have gotten to see the play he wanted Tuesday night in the Frederick County Tournament championship against Middletown, but he did get the result.

Kristin Olson rocketed home a rebound in the 36th minute, and TJ goalkeeper Amy Franciscovich came up with all the big plays in the second half to give the Patriots a 1-0 win, their fourth straight title.

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"The first half we dominated, but we wanted the pressure and we got it," said Franciscovich, who finished with eight saves. "The chances ... oh man, it was intense. You could feel the pressure on both sides."

The pressure may have left bruises by the end of this one. A spirited match turned overly physical in the second half, and the No. 2 Knights (12-2) took advantage with plenty of restarts deep in the TJ end.

"I told them I was not proud of the way they played in the first half. I was not pleased with their effort and I thought we had a lot more pride than that," Middletown coach John Miller said. "I just tried to light a fire underneath them, and I did. I appreciated the effort."

The effort, in the end, went for naught, because of Franciscovich.

She tipped Kim Waeber's free kick off the crossbar in the 59th minute, got her hands on another Waeber free kick in the 63rd minute, and punched away a corner kick from Trista Haupt two minutes later. To cap her busy night, she took a beating from Sam Wilson after narrowly winning a breakaway in the final two minutes.

"Big players come up huge in big games," Nichols said. "And this is two consecutive games ... she got her hands on everything."

The rest of the players had their hands on everything, mostly jersey of the opposing color. Middletown finished with 23 fouls, and TJ (10-2-1) had 16.

Olson's goal came after Christine Jodrie's breakaway was blocked by Middletown keeper Anna Halse. The rebound came right to Olson, trailing on the play, and her 20-yarder went right by four Middletown defenders into the net.

Set to avenge its 1-0 loss on Thursday and win its first county title, Middletown outshot TJ 11-7 in the second half and had a half-dozen balls scare the net, but the goal stood for the Patriots - again.

"That's why the emotions are so high. We're the defending champions, they want a piece of it," Nichols said. "And ... until they drive the stake through our heart, we're the defending champs."

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