Franklin 1, Belmont 0: Lovell’s OT Game-Winner sends Franklin to Round of 16

FRANKLIN – FHS boys soccer senior captain Trey Lovell was tired.


“We were definitely exhausted,” Lovell said. ” I was cramping up, but we were all able to put those feelings aside for a second; we worked hard the whole game.”


Lovell had good reason for such exhaustion this past Monday night. After almost an hour and a half of scoreless play, it was Lovell who scored the game-winner for number ten-seeded Franklin in their playoff matchup against Belmont, beating the #23 seed 1-0 in overtime.


In the 87th minute, Lovell took in a pass from fellow senior captain Will Kryzak, evading two Marauders before using a strike from his left foot to send the ball in from 25 yards out. For Lovell, the shot was a no-doubter.


“I knew right away!” Lovell recalled the game-winner while talking to reporters postgame.


The playoff victory moved Franklin to 15-3-1 on the year while eliminating Belmont from the playoffs, completing their season at 6-6-7.


FHS boys soccer senior captain Trey Lovell (#9) advances the ball in Franklin’s playoff game against Belmont. The captain’s goal in overtime helped Franklin advance to the upcoming Round of 16 tomorrow (via FHS Smugmug)

The game was the second of two in a double-header for Franklin varsity soccer. Just before the boys took the field, it was the number eight-seeded girls varsity team picking up their first playoff win this season. That game had a final score of 4-0, an impressive victory for the Panthers as they took down the #25-seeded team in their bracket… ironically, also against Belmont.


Unlike the girls game, it was clear right from the kickoff that this would be a tough, defensive battle for the boys. Through the first 40 minutes, neither team had many great opportunities to score.


The game was controlled in the midfield: both defenses were able to create quick turnovers while learning their opponent.


“We had to make a lot of adjustments throughout the game” Junior captain and defender Rex Cinelli said postgame of how the defense stepped up, “Will Klawson, Brad [Herndon], they all did a great job today. We were really able to lock down.”


Entering the second half, both defenses kept playing tight as the elimination matchup stayed open for the taking. Franklin began finding controlling the ball in their attacking third, but it was the Marauders who were able to consistently clog passing lanes for would-be goals.


FHS boys soccer junior captain Rex Cinelli (#21) goes up for a header against Belmont (via FHS Smugmug)

Belmont, who had four of their seven ties on the year finish as 0-0 matches, started turning defense into offense. Their best chance came with just minutes left in regulation: A Marauder put a shot on net, but a diving save by Franklin goalkeeper Jack Pearlman kept the game knotted at zero.  Pearlman came up gimpy from the save, and as the final moments of the second half ticked down, the junior headed to the bench. Paxton Rosen replaced Pearlman in goal during overtime, a move that Cinelli says did not lead to a loss of trust for Franklin defensively.


“We trust [our goalies] back there. Whoever it is, we know they’ll get the job done. Our job on defense is just to try and limit the shots they face.”


Between the Panthers on the field and the Franklin fans in attendance for the doubleheader, pure elation ensued when Lovell was able to nail the golden-ball goal.


“There’s not a better feeling than when you’re able to win a game like that.” Cinelli said.


“It’s a dream come true.” Lovell said.


Franklin will be back in action for another soccer double header tomorrow. Still the higher seed, FHS boys soccer will play host to #26-seeded Leominster at 6 PM. FHS girls soccer will again look to set the tone as the first game of two when they host number nine seed Wellesley at 4 PM. Tickets for both games must be purchased on GoFan ahead of time: