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Brookwood girls bounce back to win playoff game

SNELLVILLE -- Brookwood's last girls soccer game was a humiliating 5-0 loss to rival Parkview for the Region 8-AAAAAA title.

A week later, the Broncos looked like a different team.

A more aggressive Brookwood squad used a 3-0 win over defending state champion Milton in the first round of the Class AAAAAA state playoffs on Tuesday.

"After the Parkview game, we had a 45-minute team meeting," Brookwood coach Jeff Becker said. "We said there's two ways to go -- roll over and die or come out hard in the first round of the playoffs. They played near perfection."

No. 9-ranked Brookwood will play Region 7-AAAAAA champion and No. 2 ranked Mill Creek, which defeated Alpharetta 3-1, next Tuesday in the second round of the playoffs.

"I know they have a tough team and a good coach," Becker said. "They are No. 2 in the state. We wouldn't want it any other way to play against the best in the state."

Milton (10-8) lost four of its last six games to end the season.

"We knew they would be a tough team to beat," Brookwood junior Jenny Allen said. "We had to play like we were down a goal the whole time."

Brookwood (14-4) was trying to win its second region title in three years in last week's game to Parkview. Instead the Broncos got its worst loss of the season.

"Parkview was just a mess up game for us," Allen said. "We didn't take it quite as seriously. We knew this could be our last game. We never wanted to feel that way again."

After the Parkview loss, Brookwood practiced in the rain the day after prom. That helped get the Broncos' attention.

"I think we practiced a little better and worked on some tactical things," Becker said.

It showed with Allen leading the way offensively. The junior was able to get off several solid shots. She finally scored in the final minutes of the first half to give the Broncos a 1-0 lead.

"We knew they would come out with a strategy," Becker said. "We weren't going to change anything and once one of our top scorers got a hold of it."

Allen nearly had a second goal in the second half when her shot hit the crossbar in the 60th minute.

Kim Fincher gave Brookwood a 2-0 lead when her shot slid by the right upright for the goal in the 68th minute.

The two-goal advantage was plenty for Brookwood goalkeeper Kristen Rivers and the defense. Defenders Meredith Mellard, Briel Power, Sanon Williams and Michelle Allen helped the Broncos collect their ninth shutout of the season.

"The way they jumped back after the Parkview loss, they were motivated," Becker said.

Allen's twin sister, Michelle, scored on a free kick from 18 yards out to put the Broncos ahead 3-0 in the 73rd minute.

"She's an awesome defender and doesn't get to score much," Jenny Allen said. "When we got a free kick, he knew to put her in for the kick."