[Correction: Updated 10-9-17 at 3:46 p.m. to correct goalie’s name for AHS. — Carolyn Bahm, editor.]
The Munford Lady Cougars arrived to their home field with a mission.
Prove to the District 14-3A Soccer participates and the Arlington Lady Tigers they belong among the elite. But before taking on the Lady Tigers last Thursday afternoon, Munford recognized its quartet of seniors Charleigh Callahan, Camryn Beyerdorf, Morgan Self and Courtney Howard.
After the Senior Night ceremony it was time for the showdown between two of the best teams in the league. And the scoreless tie late in the second half validated both teams belonged on the same field.
Then Arlington finally broke through, attacking the Munford goal with multiple shots. The third attempt off the foot of Hope Lowe connected and gave the Lady Tigers the 1-0 victory.
“I think we did very well tactically within our formation,” Munford Head Coach Stan Jamscek said. “We were strong on the ball. We really fought hard and we did so well defensively working as a team. I just wish we possessed the ball and moved the ball a little bit more.
“The girls realized that. It would just go through their legs or just pass them. I wish we had more composure as far as keeping the ball and going together with passes through their half.”
Both teams traded control of the game and tempo throughout the first 60 minutes of the contest. The first 7 minutes belonged to Arlington with the Lady Tigers controlling the field with players such as Christina Oleartchick dominating the ball in the middle of the field.
Oleartchick would use possession or well-timed bumps to keep Arlington in control and getting shot attempts. Then the momentum flipped to Munford’s side when Lady Cougars like Maiya Reed, Morgan Self and Grace Escandon neutralized Lady Tigers like Oleartchick, Abbie Linton and Hayley Knight.
The Lady Tigers adjusted with a more physical brand of soccer, removing Lady Cougars form the ball with aggressive play.
“We talked about it,” Jamscek said. “We knew they were going to come out strong. I told them, ‘You have to keep your head into the game and just be patient. Do your job and do not worry about any altercation.’ We knew they were going to play tough. And if somebody plays you tough, you play tougher with fair play.”
Munford started to return the favor by bumping a few Lady Tigers to the turf in the second half. But the whistles finally caught up with the Lady Cougars, giving Arlington possession deep near the Munford goal.
Throughout the contest Arlington’s Kier Hull stopped many shots with leaping plays and running up in the box. Her counterpart for Munford, Lauren Owen, grabbed attention for her “Wait On It” “Tippy Toe” approach to goalie kicking.
Between her blastoffs, Owen was diving to the ground and snatching multiple Lady Tiger attempts. But late in the second half Owen and the Lady Cougars could only stop two Arlington shots before Lowe found the net, giving the Lady Tigers the crucial league victory.
Jamscek said he hopes his Lady Cougars will get another shot at the best team in District 14-3A in a few days during the district tournament.
“We have to work on more offense going forward,” he concluded. “We have to be relaxed on the ball and have more confidence to keep the ball. We have to pass it around and take our chances on their half.”