The undefeated Pawhuska High School girls’ soccer team received a little bit of good news in the latest Class 4A state rankings, which shows the Lady Huskies gaining 63 points over their total from the previous Monday.
Unfortunately, in a bizarre twist of reasoning that could only be provided by the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association, the PHS squad still dropped one spot in the poll — despite back-to-back victories last week which saw its season record improve to 4-0.
And, although the Lady Huskies won their debut match in newly-organized District 4A-5, the team they handily defeated — the Oologah-Talala Lady Mustangs (5-3, 0-1) miraculously moved past Pawhuska to claim the No. 12 position in the obviously unscientific poll. PHS dropped to No. 13.
Also, the Fort Gibson Lady Tigers — a 4-3 squad which lost to Oologah the night before the Lady Huskies whitewashed the Lady Mustangs — nonetheless held down the No. 6 spot on the current 4A list.
No wonder the OSSAA is drawing scrutiny from the Oklahoma Legislature, where some think the privately-funded governing body wields too much power with too little oversight.
Good thing these rankings are mainly just for conversations’ sake and everything eventually will work itself out in the playoffs. Otherwise, the OSSAA ranking moderators would have some serious explainin’ to do.
Pawhuska was to have a key district showdown Tuesday night at Verdigris. Information on that match will appear in next week’s PJC. However, an earlier report is planned for the Wednesday edition of the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise.
(By the OSSAA’s reasoning, a PHS victory over the three-time state champion Lady Cardinals might move the Lady Huskies completely out of the Top 15.)
LADY HUSKIES 8, PIRATES 1
BRISTOW — In their final tune-up before a highly-anticipated Tuesday showdown with defending Class 4A state champion Verdigris, the Pawhuska Lady Huskies unleashed more than two dozen shots last Friday night in posting an 8-1 soccer triumph against the Bristow Lady Pirates.
PHS junior forward Andie Sweeden scored the first of her three goals less than four minutes into the match as the Lady Huskies built a 4-0 halftime lead at Bristow. Also putting points on the board for Pawhuska were senior Carlie Culver and sophomores Stephanie Clifton, Hanna Horn, Sarah Phillippi and Keylee Kirk.
Another Lady Huskie sophomore, midfielder Genie Herren, contributed five assists in the contest, while seniors Morgan Waddle and Culver provided one apiece. Herren also was responsible for 12 shots on goal, helping Pawhuska to build a lopsided advantage over their hosts in that telling category.
"We took plenty of shots and were glad that some of them went in," said the PHS head coach, Giovanie Soliano. "The more scoring options we have will be all the better for us."
The Lady Pirates were trailing, 6-0, when they scored their lone goal against Pawhuska’s freshman goaltender, Jenna Shulanberger.
"It wasn’t really our goalkeeper’s fault that they scored," Soliano said. "One of our defenders should have already cleared it, but we weren’t playing close enough attention to them coming up behind her."
The Bristow goal was only the second scored this year against PHS, which has tallied 24 times. Shulanberger recorded three saves against the Lady Pirates.
Soliano said starting forwards Karissa Hughes had been unable to play at Bristow due to an ankle injury.
With their first road victory of the year, the Lady Huskies improved to 4-0 heading into Tuesday’s key District 4A-5 match at Verdigris against the three-time defending state champions. And, it might not be the best time to be meeting the Lady Cardinals.
Verdigris was coming into the contest with a 3-3 season record, which included a pair shutout losses against Class 5A Claremore and 6A Owasso. And, in their last outing Saturday, the Lady Cards dropped a 2-1 decision to 6A Ponca City at the Stillwater Cup tournament.
Although ranked No. 1 in Class 4A, the Verdigris squad had not faced a 4A foe this year before Pawhuska. Tuesday’s match was to be the District 4A-5 opener for the host Lady Cardinals, while the Lady Huskies were arriving with a 1-0 in-district mark.
"Our girls all know that Verdigris is a very good team and that we’ll need to play our best if we are going to have a chance at the win," Soliano said Saturday.
The coach pointed out that the Lady Huskies will be looking to add a match to their schedule before they host the Ponca City Wildcats on April 10.
Soliano also said Pawhuska has rescheduled its district match at Tulsa Will Rogers from this Thursday to Thursday, April 24. The road match with the Lady Ropers will now be played the night before the Lady Huskies are to wrap up their regular schedule with a district dogfight against the Miami Lady Wardogs.
"We’re going to try to add another home match in April against NOAH," said Soliano. "We want to avoid having any layoffs in the last stretch of our season."
PHS 3, LADY MUSTANGS 0
One night after the Oologah-Talala girls knocked off the No. 6 soccer team in Oklahoma 4A , the Pawhuska Lady Huskies notched a 3-0 victory Tuesday, March 25, over the visiting Lady Mustangs in their district-opening match at Ormand Beach Memorial Stadium.
The triumph was the third straight for the Lady Huskies and should have solidified their current No. 12 position in the Class 4A rankings. (See this week’s rankings, listed below. Apparently, the OSSAA has been infiltrated by Olympic boxing and gymnastics judges.)
"We want to keep building momentum before next week’s match at Verdigris," said PHS head coach Giovanie Soliano, whose Lady Huskie squad has out-scored its first three opponents by a 16-1 margin. "A win there would give us a big boost."
Pawhuska’s three-year-old program got a pretty significant lift from its home triumph against Oologah-Talala.
A year ago at Oologah, the Lady Huskies posted a one-goal victory over the Lady Mustangs — but that had been a non-district match. When the two squads met this time for the debut of the newly-formed District 4A-5 and the contest carried some major playoff implications.
Also, the Lady Mustangs were fresh off a 2-1 home victory versus the sixth-ranked Fort Gibson Lady Tigers, who were last year’s Class 4A state runners-up.
Eleven minutes into the match, Pawhuska sophomore midfielder Genie Herren lofted a shot over the Oologah goaltender from 55 feet out to give the Lady Huskies the only point they would need.
It was nearly 50 minutes later when midfielder Keylee Kirk scored the second PHS goal off an assist from sophomore Sarah Phillippi.
With 43 seconds remaining in the match, senior Morgan Waddle spun and rocketed a left-footer into the goal from just outside the box for the final point of the match.
Soliano gave credit to the Lady Huskie defense, which allow the opposition only three shots on goal in the second half and helped freshman goaltender Jenna Shulenberger post her second consecutive shutout for PHS.
The Lady Mustangs took six shots in the first half, compared to five for Pawhuska. Following the break, the Lady Huskies attempted nine shots — six more than their opponents.
Originally, the Lady Huskie-Lady Mustang contest was to be played in Oologah, but a late scheduling adjustment moved the match site to PHS’s Ormand Beach Memorial Stadium.
OKLAHOMA CLASS 4A
GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER
rank. school (no. 1 votes)…record…pts
1. VERDIGRIS (18)…1-3…364
3. WEATHERFORD (2)…7-0…301
4. CLINTON (2)…6-1…287
5. MT. SAINT MARY (1)…6-1…274
6. FT. GIBSON (1)…4-3…272
7. SUMMIT CHRISTIAN (2)…4-1…239
8. HILLDALE (0)…5-2…226
9. CHICKASHA (2)…3-1…220
10. SEQUOYAH/Claremore (1)…3-3…198
11. HARRAH (1)…4-1…183
12. OOLOGAH-TALALA (0)…5-3…158
13. PAWHUSKA (0)…4-0…148
14. CATOOSA (0)…4-3…128
15. CACHE (0)…4-3…87
GIRLS SOCCER STANDINGS
TULSA CENTRAL: 0-0..0-0
WESLEYAN CHRISTIAN: 0-0..0-0
TULSA WILL ROGERS: 0-2..0-0
(Tulsa Central and Wesleyan Christian are not expected to field teams.)