PREP SOCCER PLAYOFFS: Cullman downs Springville 4-0 in opening round

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Cullman’s Ashlei Bryant scores during the first half of the Lady Bearcats’ 4-0 win over Springville Thursday night. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – After putting together a phenomenal regular season and claiming an area title, the Lady Bearcats returned home to Oliver Woodard Stadium Thursday night to host the opening round of this year’s AHSAA state playoffs. Cullman took a 1-0 lead into the halftime break and tacked on three more goals in the second half to pull away and defeat the Lady Tigers 4-0.

Lady Bearcats Coach Megan Hackbarth was proud of the way her squad overcame a slow start and finished strong to put away Springville. These girls have spent many years learning to play together and Hackbarth is excited to see how far they can go in the postseason.

“I think we came out a little slow today. Obviously the first half was a little touch and go and we challenged them at halftime to go out and play as unit and as a team and have fun,” Hackbarth said. “I think they responded very well, and they played together, and things started working out once they started playing as a unit. These girls have been together for so long that they just instinctively know how to play with each other and its really fun to watch. When they’re on they’re on so I’m excited to see how they progress and hopefully keep going.”

After a scoreless opening stretch, Ashlei Bryant snuck a goal past the Springville keeper to give the Lady Bearcats and early 1-0 lead and that lead held going into the halftime break.

Cullman added to its lead early in the second half with a goal from Addie Echols that made it 2-0 and Jeta Falcon placed one just under the crossbar to stretch the lead to 3-0. Bryant scored her second goal of the game in the final minutes to secure a 4-0 win for the Lady Bearcats.

Cullman will advance to either Athens or Fort Payne in round two next week.

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