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Lady Cardinals complete banner season

By Thomas Sellers Jr.Soccer 2014 Brighton Lady Cardinals Soccer Brighton goalie stop Soccer Lady Cardinal kicker

The emerging programs meet with a trip to the Region 7-3A Soccer Tournament finals and spot in Sectionals on the line.
The District 14-3A runner up Bartlett Lady Panthers under second-year Head Coach Robby Midyett came to Brighton Stadium ready for the challenge of the District 13-3A champions Brighton Lady Cardinals.
The Lady Panthers used ball control to prevail over Brighton 5-1 last Tuesday and advance. The victory for Bartlett also guaranteed a spot in the Sub-State round.
“This is further than we went last year with my first year with the girls,” Midyett said. “We got eliminated in the district tournament last year. So this is a big step for the girls. Today we were trying to play a complete 80 minutes. I’m proud of them and we have a big test come Thursday.”
Bartlett’s first test was Brighton. The Lady Cardinals entered the contest as District 13-3A regular-season and tournament champions with a 12-2-1 record.
The Lady Panthers jumped out 2-0 lead in the Region Semifinal contest with two goals from Kayla Doyle over the first 26 minutes. That was the score at halftime.
The Bartlett advantage grew to 4-0 in the second half with goals from Carly Fallin and Grace White.
The Lady Cardinals got on the scoreboard with 14 minutes remaining in the game with a goal from Tessa Hendrickson.
Four minutes later the Lady Panthers got their final goal from  Lexie Kavoian.
“They’ve worked very, very hard,” Midyett said of his players. “Tonight we were able to get everybody on the bench in. We got some freshmen in. We have a great group of girls that have come in. We’ve been working since June and July. Their work is paying off for them.”
Brighton Head Coach Shari Garrett noted how hard her girls worked to be able to play in late October.
“It’s not a coaching thing, it’s all on them,” she said. “They worked hard. They pushed through and figured it out. We switched up our formation. I’ve always coached a 4-4-2. We switched to a 4-3-3. They learned it together. They learned triangle passes. You see them communicating well.
“I had some really key players step up like Tessa Hendrickson,” Garrett continued. “Alexa Smith, she really stepped up in that middle. Brandi Holland, who was a key player last year on offense. And she pushed back to be a defender this year. Made a huge difference for us.”
Garrett, along with Assistant Coach Bubba Chambers, got the Lady Cardinals to buy into position changes and playing team soccer for a championship season.
“They went from being individual players to learning those positions and how to interchange them,” she said. “My midfielders didn’t stay in one spot. You saw them move in and out. Brandi stepped up big time in that back. Alexa Smith was another one to step up. And with leadership, I couldn’t ask for anything more from Avis. She’s been our leader through this whole thing.
“Kasie Jacome has been another leader that helped us work it together,” Garrett added. “This team is young and I see great things for them once they identify their weaknesses and learn how to fix them.”
Despite the four-point defeat, Garrett had a smile on her face leaving the field reflecting on the accomplishments of her 2014 Lady Cardinals.
“I leave with my head up,” she concluded. “I told them, ‘You never stopped and you fought for the whole game.’ I couldn’t ask for anything more from them. I leave proud. This is my first team. I’ve coached four years so this is the first group I’ve seen from freshmen to my seniors. So I have a spot in my heart for them. I’m so proud of them and I can’t wait until next season.”
Midyett walked off the Brighton field with a look of relief and focus for the near future. His players were in the same mind frame.
“They’re very disciplined,” he said. “We’ve been very disciplined all year. We pride ourselves on our work ethic, attitude and fitness. It’s the three things I tell them they can control everyday.
“They’re probably not completely satisfied with this,” Midyett concluded. “They’re happy with the win but not completely satisfied.”

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October 2014
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