Lady Huskies triumph by 7

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital

MIAMI —Wasted scoring opportunities had been haunting the Pawhuska High School soccer team throughout the season, and that same bugaboo threatened to bring the Lady Huskies’ 2015 campaign to a premature end Thursday night.

In a crucial District 4A-5 match against the Miami Lady Wardogs, Pawhuska shooters misfired early and often during a scoreless first half at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College’s Robertson Field. Then, a second-half scoring explosion propelled the Lady Huskies to a 7-0 triumph that gives them an opportunity to qualify for the Class 4A state tournament.

“I tell them they’ve got to capitalize on those chances when they get them,” said Giovanie Soliano, the second-year coach of the PHS girls. “It doesn’t do any good to just take a lot of shots — they have got to put it in the goal.”

Genie Herren, Karissa Hughes and Andie Sweeden scored two goals each and Macy Hurd kicked in the other as the Lady Huskies advanced to the 4A playoffs for the third time in the PHS program’s four-year history. During the halftime break, Soliano had instructed players on the Lady Huskie offensive front to spread out, in order to open some lanes of attack.

Herren put the Pawhuska offense in motion three minutes and 11 seconds after the second half began when she broke loose from the right side and kicked a 15-yarder into the left corner of the goal. The junior forward scored her second goal three minutes later after taking the ball to the middle of the penalty area and booting it past Miami goalkeeper Hailey Bolles to put the Lady Huskies up 2-0 with 33:48 remaining.

PHS senior Sweeden increased the lead to three with 25 minutes to play. Her goal came as Bolles was called for fouling another Pawhuska player. (An offense which caused her to be removed briefly from the game.) Just 53 seconds later, Sweeden assisted junior midfielder Hughes on the goal, which made it a 4-0 contest. Hughes scored again (off another Sweeden assist) and put the visitors up five points at the 18:40 mark. A goal by senior Hurd gave Pawhuska a 6-0 advantage with 16 minutes remaining. The clock showed 10:07 when Sweeden concluded the scoring by kicking the seventh Lady Huskie goal, which came from 15 yards away.

Freshman goalkeeper Jordan Kitchell recorded 11 saves in notching the fifth shutout of the year for Pawhuska. Since becoming the Lady Huskie starter six matches ago, Kitchell has given up only three goals. PHS unleashed 37 goal attempts in the contest while limiting the Lady Wardogs to 16 shots on goal.

The victory secured third place in the district standings for Pawhuska, which wound up the regular season 7-3 overall and 3-2 in 4A-5 action. Following consecutive district losses to Oologah and Verdigris, the Lady Huskies swept their last three matches and qualified for one of next Friday’s play-in matches to the Class 4A State Tournament.

As the third-place finisher in its district, PHS will go on the road Friday for a tournament play-in match versus the Wagoner Bulldogs (10-3, 6-1), who finished second in District 4A-8 when they defeated Manford last week in overtime, 3-2.

One year ago, the Lady Huskies defeated Wagoner, 3-1, in their final match of the regular season. PHS held a 2-0 halftime advantage after goals midway through the opening session by Sweeden and Hurd. The Lady Bulldogs pulled within a point on a short goal with 11 minutes remaining, but Pawhuska held them off an added a final score with 30 seconds to play.