Franklin Towne Charter girls win Public League soccer title

Franklin Towne Charter's Stefanie Ulmer (left) celebrates her first-half goal with teammates in Monday's final at Northeast High School.
Franklin Towne Charter's Stefanie Ulmer (left) celebrates her first-half goal with teammates in Monday's final at Northeast High School. (YONG KIM / Staff Photographer)
Posted: October 30, 2013

Stefanie Ulmer's pre-championship preparation was the same as it has been for the last four years.

Before Monday's Public League girls' soccer Class AAA championship against Central, Ulmer and her teammates waited in Franklin Towne Charter's auditorium for two hours in silence.

Ulmer knew going home would produce nerves, so she and her teammates stayed together before heading to Northeast for the game.

By the time it started, the senior showed no signs of stress, scoring three goals to lead Franklin Towne Charter to a third straight championship with a 5-1 win against Central.

"This game was the icing on the cake," Ulmer said. "It topped off my senior year."

Ulmer was a part of a senior class that included nine players and won 58 games, a school record for 13-year-old Franklin Towne Charter. It also produced the school's first three championships.

"Franklin Towne soccer is this senior class," Franklin Towne Charter coach Brianna O'Donnell said. "They built this program. They deserve all the credit in the world."

Central beat Franklin Towne Charter for its eighth straight title in 2011, when soccer was a spring sport. Over the course of the next three seasons, the current Franklin Towne Charter seniors established themselves as the class of the Public League.

"They really wanted to perfect the way they played," O'Donnell said. "The first couple times they had a problem against Central, but now we are the standout winner, without a doubt. Based on the scoreboard at the end, it shows that we're the best in the Public League."

Franklin Towne Charter took a 2-0 lead into halftime on goals by the school's top two all-time scorers, Rachel Gilborges (85) and Ulmer (71).

Even with the lead, the two senior captains took over the halftime speech and made sure their team stayed focused.

"We wanted to come out even harder than they did and not give them a chance," Gilborges said. "We trained really hard for this. We were definitely prepared."

Central cut the lead to one with Lilliana Greene's goal three minutes into the second half, but Ulmer responded with two goals and an assist to clinch the win.

"Whenever you need Stef, she's there," Gilborges said. "You can always depend on her. You're never disappointed with what she brings to the table."

In the Class AA final that preceded the AAA game, Rush won its second straight championship after it beat Prep Charter, 1-0, on a goal by Victoria Bengochea.

"This is only the sixth year our school has been open," Rush coach Todd Corabi said. "Our school is an art school, so most of the kids who go there aren't athletic. They're artistic and expressive. They're really creative and that's fantastic, but you don't find a lot of stellar athletes."

"They've worked really hard and it means a lot for them to win."

Bengochea, a senior, didn't play soccer until this season.

"It's amazing," Bengochea said. "It feels like I really made a difference."

Central 0 1 - 1

Franklin Towne Charter 2 3 - 5

Goals: C-Lilliana Greene; F- Rachel Gilborges, Stefanie Ulmer 3, Megan Stapf.

Saves: C-Ilana Ginsburg 7; Alivia Dietsch 9.

Rush 0 1-1 Prep Charter 0 0-0 Goal: R- Victoria Bengochea.

Saves: R- Kala Keller 4; P- Kim Thatch 5.

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