When it comes to scheduling season-opening opponents, Pawhuska High School soccer coach Giovanie Soliano certainly doesn’t order up cupcakes for his Lady Huskies’ squad.
Last spring, the PHS girls opened against the Glenpool Lady Warriors — a team that, 10 months earlier, had eliminated them in the quarterfinals of the Class 4A tournament. The Lady Huskies lost the rematch, 3-0, as Glenpool notched the first of 19 straight victories en route to the 2015 state title.
"I think we could have beaten them (the Lady Warriors) if we’d been able to play them again," Soliano said after the season concluded.
Pawhuska lost a play-in game to the 4A tourney at Wagoner. Fort Gibson then knocked off Wagoner, Oologah and Clinton before falling to Glenpool in the championship match.
This year, Soliano found a different opening challenge for his team. The Lady Huskies were scheduled to play at Enid on Tuesday against the Class 6A Lady Plainsmen. Then, on Thursday and Friday, PHS is to participate in the Oologah Tournament. (Following next week’s Spring Break, the Lady Huskie season resumes with a matchup at Grove against one of PHS’s new District 4A-8 foes.)
"There just isn’t much time before the district games start," the third-year Pawhuska coach said. "We’ve got to be ready."
Enid finished 9-11 last season, for their second straight nine-win season.
"They’re a 6A team, but I think we should be able to compete pretty well with them," said Soliano, who is assisted by John Hurd and Jeff Phillippi.
The Class 4A Lady Huskies will be led by returning senior starters Genie Herren, Karissa Hughes, Keylee Kirk, Sarah Phillippi, Stephanie Clifton and Kelsie Laird. Four juniors give the team depth and experience. Goalkeepers Star Sweeden and Jordan Kitchel are among four sophomores. Seven freshmen will also bolster the squad.
Since the girls’ soccer program was started here in 2011, the Lady Huskies have reached the state playoffs in all but one season. That occurred when the current group of seniors were freshmen.
Following is the PHS roster and 2016 schedule.
1 - freshman Abby Cox, defender
2 - junior McKenzie Fortney, defender
3 - sophomore Star Sweeden, goalkeeper
4 - freshman Alexis Bighorse, defender
7 - senior Sarah Phillippi, forward
8 - freshman Blake Allen, defender
9 - freshman Alyssa Fanning, defender
10 - senior Genie Herren, midfielder
11 - senior Karissa Hughes, midfielder
12 - junior Darienne Frye, defender
13 - sophomore Denver Wahwassuck, defender
15 - senior Stephanie Clifton, midfielder
16 - freshman Abbygale Nightengale, forward
17 - junior Jocelen Castillo, midfielder
19 - senior Bailey Sutherland, defender
20 - junior Samantha Lookout, forward
21 - freshman Addie Young, midfielder
22 - senior Keylee Kirk, midfielder
23 - senior Hannah Horn, defender
27 - sophomore Hannah Laughlin, forward
28 - senior Kelsie Laird, defender
29 - sophomore Jordan Kitchel, midfielder
30 - freshman Gabby Moen, forward
2016 LADY HUSKIES’
Tuesday, March 8 — at Enid, 6 p.m.
Thursday/Friday, March 10-11 — at Oologah Tournament
Tuesday, March 22 — at Grove * 5 p.m. JV, Varsity at 6:30 *
Thursday, March 24 — HOME vs. Cushing, 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 29 — HOME vs. Miami * 5:30 p.m. *
Thursday, March 31 — HOME vs. Tulsa Webster * 6 p.m. *
Tuesday, April 5 — at Claremore Sequoyah * 6 p.m. *
Friday, April 8 — at Commerce * 6 p.m. *
Tuesday, April 12 — HOME vs. Riverfield * 5:30 p.m. *
Thursday, April 14 — HOME vs. Verdigris * 5:30 p.m. *
Monday, April 18 — at Oologah * 5:30 p.m. *
* designates 4A-8 District matches *