The Pawhuska High School Lady Huskies took care of business in Tuesday’s home opener.
Freshman forward Kaiti Moen scored a goal in each half, giving the Lady Huskies all the points they needed for a 2-1 victory over the Grove Lady Ridgerunners.
PHS claimed its third win of the regular season by winning the all-important District 4A-8 match.
Moen chipped a shot over the Grove goalkeeper to put Pawhuska in front — for the first time — 18 minutes into the contest. The goal came off an inbounds throw-in from senior Jenna Shulanberger. The Lady Huskies protected their 1-0 advantage for the rest of the half.
When play resumed for the second 40-minute session, the PHS girls had a favorable south wind at their backs. Lady Huskie goalkeeper Jordan Kitchel fielded five shots on goal in the opening half and three more in the latter.
Less than two minutes into the match, Grove’s keeper stopped a rocket kicked goalward by Pawhuska senior McKenzie Fortney. Kitchel turned away the visitor’s first serious threat around nine minutes later. Both teams had a shot carom wide off the side post. (Moen had a kick go off the left-side post in minute 17; a Grove shot hit the other goal’s right post 47 seconds before the break.)
The Lady Ridgerunners scored from 15 yards out in the ninth minute of the second half to even the match at a goal apiece, but it stayed tied only briefly.
Pawhuska regained the advantage 87 seconds later when a powerful kick by Kitchel put Moen on course for a breakaway goal. After chasing the wind-blown ball down, Moen continued up the center of the field before booting in the score from 12 yards away with 29:40 remaining on the clock.
There were no more goals, but a couple of near-misses late in the game deserve to be mentioned. Moen’s last shot at a hat trick missed by only a couple of feet with a minute remaining. And, the final kick of the night for Grove found its way into the net — but it happened a second or two after time had expired.
PHS’s youthful squad showed plenty of quality and depth. Fortney and Moen ignite the attack, with veteran support from players like Samantha Lookout, Star Sweeden Shulanberger and Addy Young. Returnees like Gabby Moen and Abby Nightengale are filliing key roles for the squad and newcomers Bailey Henley, Avery Parrett and Alyssa Reynolds appear ready to assert themselves.
Head coach Giovani Soliano’s Lady Huskies improved to 2-1, overall, and 1-0 in the district. The Lady Ridgerunners fell to 2-2, 0-1.
LADY TIGERS 2, PHS 0
On Thursday, a non-district home match versus Newkirk was won by the Lady Tigers, 2-0. Newkirk scored once per half while denying the Lady Huskies.
The two squads had tied, 2-2, in a previous meeting at the Ponca City pre-season tournament. Newkirk upped its record to 2-0 with the victory.
Newkirk took the lead in the 19th minute of the match when standout midfielder Emily Elliott kicked one over the PHS goalkeeper from 12 yards out.
Kori Watters scored the second Lady Tiger goal on a penalty kick that followed a hand-ball call with 27 minutes remaining. Visiting goalkeeper Riley Luis completed the shutout. Jordan Kitchel made 16 saves for Pawhuska and Luis had 10 for the Lady Tigers.
Newkirk continued its high level of performance at last weekend’s Moore Tournament, where the Tigers defeated larger-class foes Del City (by a 3-0 score) and Choctaw, 3-1. NHS’s lone loss in the Moore tourney was to the host Lady Lions — 2-1, in overtime.
Soliano said he had held several of Pawhuska’s players out of the lineup Thursday because they had missed a practice.
“They’ve got to learn that they won’t get to play if they don’t come to practices,” the PHS coach said.