By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The showdown Sept. 29 at the Munford Stadium had bragging rights, pride and the District 13-3A regular season title on the line.
The winner could be the No. 1 seed and have a spot in the Region 7-3A Tournament. The visiting Lady Cardinals seized the moment early scoring two goals in the first 5 minutes leading to a 4-2 victory.
“We calmed down and played our game,” Brighton captain Brandi Holland noted. “Instead of waiting until the second half to start and plus we got to the 50/50 balls.”
In the previous match up in Brighton, the Lady Cougars took the early lead. The Lady Cardinals played a better 40 minutes in the second half to end the game deadlock.
In the rematch with the championship on the line, Lady Cardinals jumped out to a 2-0 lead early behind a penalty kick from Avis Van Kampen and a Holly Maddox goal from a cross by Van Kampen.
The Lady Cardinals were ahead 3-0 in the first half when Van Kampen’s throw in found the head of Tess Hendrickson.
“Those goals we gave up tonight had nothing to do with the keeper,” Munford Head Coach Kyle Selby noted. “Anybody who knows soccer knows that.”
Selby noted the outstanding play of his goalie Taylor Savage throughout the season that helped Munford enter the game undefeated at 10-0-2. The sophomore keeper had a lot to do with the best start in Lady Cougar Soccer history with her defense, saves and field awareness.
Another key part to Munford’s start has been Kasey Moore doing the little things all over the field from defense to assisting on many goals by Erika Lambert. Lambert has set the Munford Lady Cougar record for most goals in a season.
The junior striker tallied her 19th goal of the season before halftime to make the score 3-1 against Brighton.
Both teams tallied a goal in the second half with Munford getting a penalty kick from Moore. Savannah Dickerson iced the game for Brighton scoring on a cross from Hendrickson.
Van Kampen, another Brighton captain, said one of the major reasons for the Lady Cardinals improving from the previous Munford match is cohesion.
“We were a very new team at the start of the season,” she said. “Our freshmen have stepped it up this past season. I really appreciate that.”
Selby said he appreciated the Lady Cardinals’ approach to the game and he hopes it motivates his team with the approaching postseason.
“They’ve got to decided whether they have heart,” Selby said of his team. “That team right there, Brighton, is very well coached. But the bottom line is they fight for every single ball. We didn’t tonight.”
The Lady Cougars closed out the season with tough games against Lausanne and Covington. Munford, the No. 2 seed, will have to play Dyer County in the first round of the District 13-3A Tournament to avoid elimination.
Meanwhile, Brighton’s 4-2 win locked up the No. 1 seed and a berth in Regionals. Lady Cardinal third captain Kasie Jacome said she expects to see Munford again and knows Brighton will have to take its game to another level.
“We’re going to play our game,” she said. “We’re going to pick it up even more and play our game.”