The Pawhuska High School Lady Huskies kept their 2013 soccer dream alive until far into the cold, stormy night on Tuesday, April 22, in Wagoner.
With less the 10 seconds remaining in regulation time, Carlie Culver scored for PHS to tie the contest at 1-1 and result in a 10-minute overtime period.
Alas, for Pawhuska fans, the home-advantaged Lady Bulldogs slipped past a shot late in the initial OT session. The winning goal by Wagoner ended the District 4A-8 match, as well as the against-all-odds playoff quest of the visiting Lady Huskies.
After a scoreless first half, the Lady Bulldogs finally seized the advantage with a goal midway through the second. It appeared that the one point would hold up until Culver scored her electrifying, last-second goal to force the extra session.
"The wind was a big factor all match," said Pawhuska coach Gary Hughes. "When they won the (coin) toss at the start of overtime, it put the wind to their backs.
"We were only about a minute away from getting to that second overtime period, when the wind would have been at our backs," the PHS coach added, lamenting about what might have been if the Lady Huskies had gotten the second OT opportunity.
The match was played under cold, windy and rain-splattered conditions on the artificial turf at the Wagoner field.
"We had more shots on goal and, I think, played a better game all the way around, but the score board is all that counts in the end," said the Pawhuska coach.
The Lady Huskies had won a 1-0 match earlier this season at Oologah when freshman Karrissa Hughes took a pass from junior Morgan Waddle and booted home the game-winning goal with just eight seconds showing on the clock.
"The late heroics didn’t surprise me," Hughes added. "Our girls fight to the end and never give up."
Playoff chances of the Lady Huskies were dealt a serious blow by a 1-0 district loss a week ago at Hilldale. In that match, PHS goalkeeper Andie Sweeden had shut out the Lady Hornets until the goal was scored with two minutes left.
In Monday night’s district makeup match at Pawhuska, seven different players scored goals for the Lady Huskies in a 10-0 blitzing of the Lady Ropers.
The loss at Wagoner gave the young and dynamic PHS squad a final season record of 5-4 and left it with a 1-3 mark against district competition. Wagoner (at 9-3 overall and 3-1 in the district) moved forward to the postseason as a second-place district finisher, behind champ Verdigris, and ranked as the No. 14 team in Class 4A.
In only its second season of state-sanction high school competition, Pawhuska had hoped to return to this year’s 4A state playoffs.
Under their new head coach, the Lady Huskies kept their slim postseason chances alive on the night before the Wagoner match when they posted a 10-0 home victory over district foe Tulsa Rogers. Final hopes vanished with the 2-1 loss on Tuesday.
It was the first extended match for PHS since it lost a 3-2 home decision to the Lady Bulldogs last year in the final game of the 2012 regular season. The contest at Wagoner came just two days before the one-year anniversary of that match, which was played at Pawhuska.
Wagoner followed the 2012 Pawhuska match with a pair of overtime victories (both 2-1, versus Ft. Gibson and Claremore Sequoyah) in last year’s state playoffs.
Last Friday, the Lady Bulldogs started off their state playoff bid by defeating the Oologah Lady Mustangs, 3-1, in a tournament play-in game at Wagoner. The Lady Bulldogs were scheduled to play Tuesday night at Ft. Gibson. Also on Friday, Hilldale lost a play-in match at Mannford as the Lady Pirates prevailed over the Hornets, 2-1.
Verdigris, the three-time defending 4A state champion, was to host Stillwell (a 4-0 play-in victor over Drumright) for a first-round match Tuesday. The winner there will move on to play the survivor between Catoosa and Glenpool after Catoosa (who knocked the Lady Huskies out of last year’s tourney) defeated Westville, 3-1, in its play-in.