By MIKE MOGUIN
B.A. Express Sports Writer
A fierce defense and one goal proved to be the key elements necessary as Broken Arrow brought home a state championship by beating Mustang 1-0 in the Class 6A girls state final in May in Oklahoma City.
Junior Rebecca Garcia scored the game’s only goal for the Lady Tigers in the second half. Garcia scored when she made a kick from 30 yards to the goal.
“The key to scoring the goal was teamwork, making sure we kept moving and making plays, and we saw an opportunity,” Garcia says. “They just passed me the ball, I didn’t think of anything, I just shot it, hoping it would go in, and it did.”
It marked the first state title on the pitch from the girls’ side for Broken Arrow in 20 years and seventh in school history.
Outside of the goal, Broken Arrow had to overcome a solid defense by the Lady Broncos and strong winds. Those circumstances also created a challenge for sophomore Peyton Pearson, who played goalkeeper. She did have a few close calls where Mustang came close to scoring on a corner or free kick.
“Their center backs were big and physical. It was hard to get around them,” Pearson says. “Their forwards were very fast. So, with the wind, it was a challenge to make sure I’m not sitting on my line. I had to be ready to come out. They were good.”
“There was a lot of wind in the first half,” Garcia says. “The first half was really rough for all of us. I don’t think we were mentally there yet. But at halftime, our coaches got on to us and we made sure we came out stronger and just like put our hearts out.”
The Lady Tigers did come out with a different enthusiasm in the second half, leading up to Garcia’s goal.
“It was a relief,” Pearson says. “I sprinted all the way to her. I gave her a hug. I was so happy. It was relief where if we keep this goal, we’re going to win a state championship.”
Broken Arrow finished the year unbeaten at 22-0 and rarely yielded goals from the opposition.
“I knew our backline would keep it strong,” Pearson says. “Trying to keep a shutout in every game was one of our main goals this year. We did it all four playoffs games and did it much throughout the season. I just wanted to keep the shutout. If we keep the shutout and score, we win.
“Being 22-0, not having to face a loss is pretty great,” Pearson says. “It’s a great feeling to go through your whole season undefeated and only have three goals scored on you.”
When the last second ticked off the clock, the feeling for the Lady Tigers was indescribable.
“Honestly, it was one of the best feelings,” Pearson says. “I was so happy to win. It was great. It was like, hug all your teammates that you finally did it.
“I still can’t believe that we won state. It’s just breathtaking. It is such a great feeling that knowing our hard work paid off,” Garcia says. That’s just something we’re really proud of. We always say we didn’t want to lose this year, we wanted to be undefeated and we made it happen.”
So, what will be the key for Broken Arrow to repeat next season?
“Working hard and making sure we are close to each other,” Garcia says.