Carl Junction girls soccer aims for redemption in district championship

Carl Junction faces Branson in the district championship game on Saturday

CARL JUNCTION – Mo. – As the Carl Junction Bulldogs head into the district championship game, a sour memory comes to mind.

“Last season was really hard for us,” says senior Kadynce Arnold. “It was a big game, and we didn’t win. I think that impacted us and made us want it even more. We have more passion this year.”

Last year, Carl Junction fell to Webb City in the district championship game in penalty kicks. This year, they say they’re both stronger and more motivated than ever.

“We noticed how the other team was celebrating and how they felt and we tried to put that in the memory bank,” says Carl Junction head coach Ed Miller.

A lot has changed since last season.

“We have experience. Having been in certain situations last year, when we’re put in the same situations this year, we’re putting the ball in the back of the net and that’s what getting us wins,” Miller says.

“This year I think our main focus is being together as a team and winning as a team instead of individually,” Arnold says.

CJ will play Branson at home in the championship game on Saturday. The Bulldogs beat the Pirates 3-1 just last week.

“Now they’re starting to believe that they’re a good team,” Miller says. “They’re starting to believe that they can win and that they’re a quality team top to bottom and we can compete with some of the better teams in the state. So, I think that’s the biggest thing is just the confidence that our team is gaining over these last couple of weeks.”

It’s the third straight district championship appearance for the Bulldogs. The last time they won it was in 2019 when the current seniors were freshman.

“I just remember being so excited and just like jumping up with my teammates in the air,” says Carl Junction senior Marly Stauffer. “I remember we passed the plaque around and all took pictures with it and we were just so proud. The motivation is it’s my senior year, so I think that we need to finish things how we started. I want to get this team as far as we can go.”

Carl Junction and Branson will hit the field at 12pm on Saturday for the district championship.