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Brookhaven opens playoffs with soccer games at home tonight

Brookhaven boys and girls soccer put in the work to re-build teams that lost a lot of seniors from last season and the work and dedication is paying off.

Both the boys and girls teams won their finals games of the season Friday night against Provine and were named 5A Region 6 district champions.

“We graduated a lot of players from the season before, but our players fought hard and improved on their skills to earn this,” Brookhaven girls soccer head coach Kevin Bower said. “We had a lot of players that haven’t played before. They learned what to do in each new situation they were put in. They communicated with each other better.”

The Brookhaven girls soccer team graduated 12 seniors from last year’s team and knew it would be a challenge to get this team up to speed to prepare for this season. The team overcame the challenge and improved throughout the course of the season to earn the title of district champions.

It’s been a season of streaks for the girls’ soccer team. The Lady Panthers started their season losing their first two games, but ended on a high note, winning their final three games to win district. The Lady Panthers finished the season at 6-5, but went 4-0 in district play to win a tough district.

The boys’ team was dominant from the opening kick of the season, showing the ability to score at will and not allow many goals. The Panthers scored 45 goals on the season and only allowed 13 goals. Brookhaven made it look easy on their way to a 10-3 overall record, including 4-0 in district play.

“Their defense improved so much this season,” Bower said about the boys. “They rarely get scored on and their passing improved so much over the season. They possessed the ball more and controlled the game.”

The 5A playoffs start tonight with the Brookhaven Panthers at home against West Jones in the opener. West Jones enters the postseason with a 10-8 overall record and has shown they’re battle tested, having played some of the best teams in the state.

“They’re (West Jones) a good team every year it seems like,” Bower said. “They pass well and they play good defense. It’ll be a challenge for both of our teams taking them on.”

Bower said that both the boys’ and girls’ teams have matched up with West Jones before in the playoffs and playing them will be nothing new.

The West Jones Lady Mustangs have shown how good they are over the course of the season by finishing the regular season with a 14-4-2 record and have been an offensive force. The Lady Mustangs have scored 101 goals on the season and have only given up 37 goals. It’ll be a tough task for the Lady Panthers to slow down a strong West Jones offense.

“I’m very proud of them all around,” Bower said. “It was a rebuilding year after graduating so many players. We’ve told the players to work on many things and they’ve improved on them.”