Posted: Friday, 17 May 2013 9:15PM

Kickapoo tops Central in district soccer final



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Welcome back, Miriam Melugin.

On the injured list since early April, Melugin made her return to the field Tuesday as Kickapoo beat Joplin 5-0. She finished with one goal and one assist.

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Melugin made an even bigger impact Friday in Kickapoo’s Class 3, District 12 title game against Central. The future Kansas Jayhawk scored Kickapoo’s first two goals as the Lady Chiefs won 3-1.

“It felt great to finally be back out there playing, I’m just ready to go beat Nixa now,” Melugin said.

Kickapoo plays at Nixa in a Class 3 sectional on Tuesday. Nixa won 6-0 at Kickapoo in the regular season, but Lady Chiefs coach Phil Hodge says his team is ready for a rematch. Melugin didn’t play in that game.

"When we didn't have her last week, I still felt like we were coming together," Hodge said. "We learned from some stuff that happened over the course of the season and started playing well. Miriam coming back gives, I think, the whole team some confidence."

Melugin broke the scoreless tie with a goal 10 minutes into the second half.

An offensive flurry broke out in the final 10 minutes. Melugin’s second goal of the game put Kickapoo ahead 2-0 with less than seven minutes remaining.

Kierstyn Sandwell netted Kickapoo’s third goal of the game just moments later. Hannah Sweaney, who aided Melugin’s first goal, got her second assist of the game.

"We were talking about that on the sideline the whole time," Hodge said. "I thought, 'Wow, Hannah’s having a great game today.' She really contributed well and played with confidence.”

Aspen Hawkins, Central’s all-time leading scorer, prevented Kickapoo from getting the shutout with a goal in the final minute.

For Kickapoo, it's the Lady Chiefs first district title since 2007 and first under Hodge. It's also the same season the Kickapoo boys' and girls' soccer teams have both won district titles since the 2006-07 school year.

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