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Close Rivals: Munford/Brighton goes to Lady Cardinals in district finals

By Thomas Sellers Jr.Soccer Brighton Region champs Soccer physical play 1 Soccer physical play 2 Soccer physical play 3

The Munford Lady Cougars set up the trilogy by beating Dyer County last Tuesday in the District 13-3A Soccer Tournament Semifinal.
The victory set up Thursday night’s third match up between Munford and Brighton. The Lady Cardinals, regular-season champions of the district, played host to their rivals at the Brighton Stadium.
In the previous two games, the first ended in a deadlock and the Lady Cardinals won 4-2 to earn the No. 1 seed.
Kyle Selby’s Lady Cougars came ready to get their first win over Brighton in 2014. But the physical play limited both team scoreless until a Lady Cardinal goal from Holly Maddox with 34 minutes and 58 seconds remaining. That one goal was enough for Brighton to prevail 1-0 and win the tournament championship.
“It’s probably the best feeling in the world,” Brighton’s All-Tournament player Brandi Holland said. “We didn’t play scared. We kept our heads and played together just knowing our teammates were going to be there. You have to trust your teammate is going to be there.”
Maddox was there to get the ball in the box and get the shot off to score. Then it was up to the Lady Cardinals defense to hold onto the lead.
Brighton Head Coach Shari Garrett employed her defenders to clear the ball in the final four minutes as Munford went on the attack. The Lady Cougars possessed the ball and got three shots off unsuccessfully.
When the official’s whistle blew after 80 minutes, the Lady Cardinals were the champions of the district.
“We’ve been together since the summer,” Lady Cardinal senior Avis Van Kampen said. “And all the practices we’ve been through and extra work, it’s so great to see it all pay off.
Brighton’s Kasie Jacome noted the biggest different from the first Munford game to the tournament clincher was effort and cohesion.
“We just practiced hard and came together more as a team,” she said. “We limited our mistakes too. We won the 50/50 balls.”
Both teams advanced to the Region 7-3A Soccer Tournament to play the pair from District 14-3A Arlington and Bartlett. Munford had to travel this week while Brighton earned a home game in Region.
But for the night leaving the Brighton field as the best in District 13-3A, Van Kampen said the seniors defined their season.
“It means a lot to our class,” she concluded. “For the Class of 2015, I can say we’re really excited to bring home a championship. We’re really excited to show who we are — champions.”

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