Franklin Towne Charter had a few things going for it in last night's PIAA District 12 Class AAA girls' soccer championship game: a vocal student fan base, led by the Coyote mascot, and a pair of dangerous forwards.
But with a dominant defense and title-game experience, Central quieted the many white-shirted spectators and silenced Towne's scoring threats.
Ellen Kaufmann headed in the winner midway through the second half as the Lancers blanked Towne, 1-0, at Northeast's Charlie Martin Memorial Stadium to earn another crown. It is the program's fifth consecutive Public League championship.
In yesterday's Class AA title game at Northeast, Philadelphia Academy Charter edged Masterman, 2-1, in overtime. Jaimee Coates netted the winner seven minutes into the second OT session.
On Tuesday, in the opening round of the Class AAA state tournament, Central (15-1-1) will play District 1's third-place qualifier at Northeast. Towne (10-4-1) will hit the road and take on District 3's fifth-place finisher.
Also on Tuesday at Northeast, in Class AA, Philadelphia Academy Charter (5-6-1) will host District 3's fifth-place qualifier.
Kaufmann's winning goal, her 14th of the season, came on a right-side cross from fellow senior Jillian Barrett with 29 minutes, 26 seconds to play.
"It was a perfect cross from Jillian," Kaufmann said. "She's my best friend, so that made it even better."
The 5-foot-10 Kaufmann, who will play soccer at Widener, also scored the winner in last year's 1-0 championship victory against Towne. That goal came in the game's 54th minute.
"She comes through with the big goals all the time for us," Central coach Paul Metzgar said. "It's just in her nature as a player."
The Lancers outshot the Coyotes, 16-4, and kept freshman Sarah Rodgers (14 goals this season) and senior captain Stephanie Dietrich at bay. It was their third win over Towne this season.
"You have to hand it to them," Towne coach Jim Meehl said. "They played excellent defense and limited our shots."
For Philadelphia Academy Charter, which avenged last year's championship-game loss to the Blue Dragons (4-7-1), Coates and Bonnie McQuillan provided the scoring. Two minutes before Coates ended things, a Masterman shot hit the left post and bounced off the goal line.
Masterman 0 1 0 0 - 1
Phila. Academy Charter 0 1 0 1 - 2
Goals: M-Nicole Bracciale; PAC-Bonnie McQuillan, Jaimee Coates.
Saves: FTC-Gabriella Romano 10; PAC-Ashlyn Lawless 11.
Franklin Towne Charter 0 0 - 0
Central 0 1 - 1
Goals: C-Ellen Kauffman.
Saves: FTC-Colleen Dwyer 7; C-Erica Gendall-Conrad 3.