Lady Huskies re-host Verdigris

Mike ErwinJ-C Sports Writer

When the Verdigris Lady Cardinals visit Ormand Beach Memorial Stadium on Thursday, Pawhuska soccer fans will have a rare opportunity at revenge, redemption and vindication.

Until last season, the Lady Cardinals had ruled the roost in Class 4A girls soccer — winning all four state championships from 2011 to 2014 (and a couple times before that were taken away due to ineligible players). The Lady Huskies visited Verdigris in each of those four championship seasons, winning some moral victories — but not any real ones.

The 2015 district match with Verdigris was played at Pawhuska, where the Lady Huskies dominated the contest before losing in heartwrenching fashion via a shootout.

“We’re never going to be ready to go were we want to be until we finally beat them,” Pawhuska coach Giovanie Soliano said of the Lady Cardinals. “This needs to be our time.”

Thursday’s kickoff will be at 5:30 p.m.

On Tuesday, the PHS girls (who are 6-2 overall on the year and 4-1 in the district) were to have a District 4A-8 tuneup match against 1-4 Riverfield.

PHS 3, SEQUOYAH 0

PHS 7, COMMERCE 0

Last Tuesday (April 5), Pawhuska’s girls defeated new district foe Sequoyah, 3-0, at the Lady Eagles’ turf-field complex north of Claremore.

The match stayed in a scoreless deadlocked over the first 40 minutes of play. Five minutes into the second half, however, senior midfielder Keylee Kirk put Pawhuska in front by one. Another senior, Genie Herren made it 2-0 for the Lady Huskies a few minutes later. Herren added the third PHS goal with about 10 minutes remaining. Sequoyah Lady Eagles.

Kirk also got Pawhuska’s scoring started Friday at Commerce. Despite controlling the ball throughout the opening half, the Lady Huskies held a mere 1-0 advantage at the break. But, PHS needed only 52 seconds to expand its lead in the late session.

Freshman defender Blake Allen let loose a 30-yard boot toward the goal, where Kirk was engaged in a collision with the home goalkeeper as Allen’s shot rolled into the net, making it 2-0 for the visitors. Four minutes later, junior McKenzie Fortney blasted one past the Lady Tiger keeper to give the locals a three-goal advantage.

Twenty minutes were left in the match when stolid sophomore Jordan Kitchel connected from 18 yards out and increased the Lady Huskie edge to 4-0.

With 14 minutes remaining, twin assists by senior Sarah Phillippi helped trigger another offensive explosion from Kirk, who added back-to-back goals in a span of 19 seconds. Kirk’s fourth point of the night came off a corner kick by senior Karissa Hughes with 10:21 showing on the clock and concluded the contest’s scoring.

Pawhuska sent shot after shot toward the Commerce goaltender. Meanwhile, Lady Huskie netminder Star Sweeden was rarely challenged by the Tigers. Sweeden battled through the boredom to record her fourth shutout of the season, 7-0.

“I’d told the girls we needed to try to win by 10,” said Pawhuska’s coach, Giovanie Soliano. “What I’m concerned about is our district race coming down to a tiebreaker — and that’s when those extra goals could make a difference.”

Soliano said the Lady Huskies didn’t pass the ball enough during the first half at Commerce.

“Everybody was taking shots, but almost none of them went in the goal,” he said. “A few more passes could have given us some better shots — and that probably would have got us to 10.”