Lady Huskies versus state champion Cardinals
The home soccer match that was to be played Tuesday with the defending state champion Verdigris Lady Cardinals offered the Pawhuska Lady Huskies an opportunity to regain “viability” in the District 4A-5 standings.
Last week’s shutout loss, 2-0, at Oologah put the PHS program in danger of reaching the post-season — which the Lady Huskies have failed to do only once (and, just by a smidgen then) in their five-year history.
The Lady Mustangs scored a goal in each half and wore the visiting Pawhuska girls down by capitalizing on a distinct size advantage.
“Oologah was pretty physical,” head coach Giovanie Soliano said afterward. “We don’t play physical enough — that’s one of the things we’ve got to improve.”
Soliano was hoping his team’s physicality would be increased Tuesday when Verdigris visited Ormand Beach Stadium for the critical district showdown.
Although they have won four straight state titles (or six, if you count two that were forfeited due to player-eligibility violations), the Lady Cardinals came into the match with only one victory to show after four season matches.
Last week’s road loss to the Lady Mustangs might have been a few points worse if freshman goalkeeper Star Sweeden had not made several spectacular saves in the last 25 minutes of the second half. PHS senior defender Ashley Youngwolfe also entered the contest and helped counter Oologah’s physical advantage.
Oologah’s first goal came 10 minutes into the match when a Lady Mustang free kick from the 30-yard sideline sailed over the Lady Huskie starting goalkeeper, Jenna Shulanberger.
Pawhuska took eight shots on goal during the first half to nearly match the eight that were taken by the host Mustangs. With 35 minutes remaining on the second half, however, a 20-yard Oologah boot at the opposite end of the field eluded the reach of a leaping Sweeden.
Both Oologah goals were scored by freshmen while the Lady Mustangs’ senior goalkeeper, Mallorie Stonebarger, recorded the shutout. On the unfamiliar artificial surface of Mustang Stadium, the Lady Huskies struggled from the match’s start to finish against the larger Oologah players. Although the PHS squad recently participated in the Oologah Tournament, all three of its matches were held on a pasture-like practice field next to the stadium — where half the tourney games were played.
2015 DISTRICT 4A-5
(through March 30)