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LADY TIGERS CAP PERFECT SEASON WITH STATE TITLE

Lady Tigers cap perfect season with state title

ERIK HORNE

The Oklahoman/Tulsa World | 5/12/2018

OKLAHOMA CITY — As the sun set on Taft Stadium on Friday, Mustang’s resolute defense was following a similar script to its semifinal win a week prior. Broken Arrow had a script of its own to end the Class 6A girls state soccer championship.

The Broncos had hardly put in a wrong foot against the unbeaten Tigers, as Mustang’s defenders shifted and covered for each other, absorbing pressure against Broken Arrow’s speedy front of forwards.

It was all undone by one 30-yard strike from junior midfielder Rebeca Garcia in Broken Arrow’s 1-0 victory, the first state title for the Tigers in girls soccer.

“I wasn’t thinking about anything,” Garcia said of her game-winning goal. “But when I scored, all I thought about was my seniors and how I did it all for them.”

Twenty-seven minutes into the second half, Broken Arrow’s quick counterattack was seemingly handled by Mustang, as central defender Kylee Wickersham poked a Tigers cross out of the danger area.

The ball fell to Anna Dean, who passed off to Garcia, who immediately lashed her long shot just over the reach of Mustang goalkeeper Ashlee Jackson.

“She placed it just right,” Mustang coach Lindsay Riggs said. “I’m proud of what the girls have done. They did exactly what we asked them to.

“It’s heartbreaking to lose in a game like that, but you’ve gotta go with it.”
Mustang’s sophomore goalkeeper was otherwise impenetrable, snuffing out wave-after-wave of Broken Arrow attack with quick reflexes off her goal line. Jackson finished with six saves.
Broken Arrow (17-0) entered the final with an even better defensive record than Mustang (14-5). It outscored its opponents 8-0 in four playoff games, including a convincing 3-0 quarterfinal win over defending 6A champion Union.

Yet, only Garcia’s brilliant goal could break Mustang’s disciplined midfield and no-nonsense back line. Broken Arrow sent waves of talent at the Tigers – eight players either committed or signed to play college ball. Its defense remained equally composed, holding Mustang to six shots on goal, led by Central Arkansas signee Gracie Hair. Kansas State commit Peyton Pearson had six saves in goal.

Mustang’s best chance of the second half came in the 51st minute off a corner kick. Freshman forward Kyla Lovelace, who scored the winning goal in last week’s 1-0 semifinal win against Norman, deflected a shot right into the stomach of Pearson from six yards out.

That goal never came for Mustang in its first state championship appearance. It did for Broken Arrow in its first, off a strike worthy of a state championship and unbeaten season.

“That’s a shot that she takes and has scored many times this year,” Broken Arrow coach Kasey Counts said. “When I saw her shoot it, I was pretty sure it was going to go in.

“That’s kind of the way she’s been scoring all her goals this year.”

BROKEN ARROW 1, MUSTANG 0
Broken Arrow 0 1 — 1
Mustang 0 0 — 0
Goals: BA, Mollie Breiner (67’).
Saves: BA, Peyton Pearson 6; M: Ashley Jackson 5.

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