Lady Lions repeat championship

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Moments after the final seconds counted off the clock at John Hunt Park in Huntsville Saturday, the Briarwood Lady Lions stormed the field in celebration of their 5-0 win over John Carroll and second-straight state championship.

&8220;It&8217;s amazing,&8221; said Morgan Haney, one of three senior captains. &8220;It hasn&8217;t really hit me, but it&8217;s the best feeling right now. I can&8217;t even think of it in words.&8221;

Amidst the celebration another captain, Leslie Jennings, was holding a white No. 7 jersey in the air, representing the Lady Lions&8217; seventh state title, as head coach Ryan Leib looked on.

&8220;Seven is nice, but back-to-back s hard to do,&8221; Leib said.

Briarwood captured the repeat in the same fashion they&8217;ve played all season, scoring multiple goals for the 15th game and posting its 14th shutout.

&8220;We&8217;ve got some fire power definitely,&8221; Leib said. &8220;The girls stepped up and finished our chances and created chance after chance&8230;I&8217;m not surprised, knowing the character of this team. The potential is there every game, it&8217;s just a matter of if we get it done or not. Today we got it done.&8221;

Captain and defender Callie O&8217;Steen scored first for Briarwood in the 22nd minute with an assist from Haney, followed by a rebounded blast by Anna Hall in the 38th minute to give the Lady Lions a 2-0 lead at the half.

Leib pulled his girls together under the shade of the scoreboard during the break to motivate them to take advantage of the Cavaliers early in the second half.

They did just that, with Lauren Silvio scoring in the seventh minute of the half.

&8220;When it&8217;s hot like this and you play back-to-back, the second day is just a battle of will. I just challenged the girls to be mentally tougher than the other team and make them quit basically. They took that challenge upon themselves and worked like crazy,&8221; Leib said.

Haney followed Silvio&8217;s goal with one of her own in the 53rd minute, while Leigh Gwaltney rounded out the scoring in the 69th minute.

O&8217;Steen, who has signed with the University of Alabama, commanded the defense on its way to its 14th shutout of the season.

&8220;Our minds were set on this since day one. We were attacking this title with full force and it was just great to be able to finish it,&8221; O&8217;Steen said.

The back-to-back titles are the first for Briarwood since capturing their fifth title in 2002.

The last consecutive run for Briarwood in girls&8217; soccer was winning four-straight from 1997-2000. The seven titles is one shy of a state record eight titles captured by Ft. Payne.

-Briarwood 5, Decatur 1: Briarwood allowed an early goal by Decatur&8217;s Meg Adams in the 11th minute to start Friday&8217;s semifinal match.

The Lady Lions scattered goals among Abbie McCoy, Missy Shaw, Rachael Jones, Lindsey Sillers and Silvio. Deborah Ross had five saves