Pawhuska High School soccer coach Giovanie Soliano is paying little attention to state rankings as he prepares the Lady Huskies for the final two weeks of thee regular season.
"We just need to get ready for our three remaining district matches," said the first-year coach. "If we get to the playoffs, we’ll be able to make our own rankings."
Following their first loss of the year last week at Verdigris, the Lady Huskies slipped two more spots in the Class 4A rankings released Monday by the OSSAA. Pawhuska fell to No. 15 in the poll despite a respectable showing in a 3-1 defeat against the defending state champion Cardinals.
Verdigris, despite winning in its district opener, relinquished the No. 1 rank in the poll. Glenpool (with a 6-2 overall record) ascended to the top of the 4A rankings. Clinton (8-1) earned the No. 2 position and Verdigris (2-3) moved to third.
The rest of the top 10 in the 4A poll were Mount Saint Mary, Weatherford (both 7-1), Summit Christian (6-1), Bridge Creek (7-0), Hilldale (7-2), Fort Gibson (5-3) and Sequoyah Claremore (5-3).
Harrah (5-1) is ranked No. 11 in 4A, one spot ahead of Oologah-Talala — with a 6-3 mark that includes a district loss to Pawhuska. (hmmm?!?) Catoosa (5-3) is No. 13 and Chickasha (3-1) has the position in front of the Lady Huskies — who are 4-1 and have outscored their opponents by a margin of 17-5.
Despite being undefeated entering last Tuesday’s match against the three-time state champions, the Lady Huskies had already been demoted from No. 12 to No. 13 in the weekly rankings.
"Our girls took too long to get going against Verdigris," Soliano said. "I’d really like to get another chance against them later this season.
"It could happen, too," the coach added. "We’ve just got to take care of those other teams in our district."
Lady Cardinals 3,
Lady Huskies 1
VERDIGRIS — Whether the Verdigris High School girls soccer team has won three straight state championships or four remains open for debate, but the Lady Cardinals retained their title as undisputed Class 4A champions, at least as far as the Pawhuska Lady Huskies are concerned.
Verdigris held off the Pawhuskans, 3-1, in a District 4A-5 showdown played Tuesday, April 1. With the victory in its district debut, the home squad improved to 2-3 record for the year. The Lady Huskies suffered their initial season loss, which dropped them to 1-1 in district and 4-1 overall.
En route to the district triumph, the Lady Cardinals trebled a 1-0 halftime advantage by scoring twice in the initial eight minutes of the second period. All-star senior forward Caitlyn Hanslovan scored a pair of goals for Verdigris. Another senior forward of the Cardinals, Summer Witt, chipped in the first point five minutes into the contest off a mishandled save attempt in front of home goal.
Sophomore forward Sarah Phillippi scored the goal for the Lady Huskies with 11:56 remaining in the match. Phillippi took a cross pass from midfielder Genie Herren and blasted it into the net from 15 yards out.
The visiting Pawhuskans managed 12 shots on goal compared to 20 for Verdigris. The hostesses kept the ball on their offensive end for the lion’s share of the opening half and continued to control the action during the first 20 minutes of the second.
PHS goalkeeper Jenna Shulanberger recorded 10 saves and senior Jade Graves saved three for the home squad. Shulanberger, a freshman, had yielded just two goals in the first four matches of the Lady Huskies.
The Lady Cardinals have claimed the last three Oklahoma Class 4A soccer titles and also won the 2010 championship match before that title taken away because of a player-eligibility violation.
Since starting its girls-only soccer program three years ago, Pawhuska has reached the state playoffs once and narrowly missed qualifying last season.
PHS played at home Tuesday in a non-district matchup with the NOAH (home-schooled) squad. The Lady Huskies were originally scheduled to play district foe Tulsa Rogers this week, but that match has been re-set for April 24, according to the PHS head coach. On Thursday, Pawhuska will have a home match against Class 6A’s Ponca City Wildcats, with the kickoff set at 6 p.m.
The Lady Huskies have a district match at Commerce on April 17, and wrap up their regular slate with a home showdown against A-5 foe Miami on April 25.
School: Dist. (all) mar pts.
VERDIGRIS: 1-0 (2-3) 2
MIAMI 1-0 (4-3) 1
OOLOGAH-TALALA 1-1 (6-3) 1
PAWHUSKA 1-1 (4-1) 1
TULSA ROGERS 0-0 (0-3) 0
COMMERCE 0-2 (1-6) -5
Pawhuska 3, Oologah 0
Verdigris 3, Pawhuska 1
Oologah 7, Commerce 0
Miami 1, Commerce 0