Lady Huskies soccer match set Thursday at ‘The Beach’

Mike ErwinJ-C Sports Writer

Spring will be breaking out all over Thursday at Ormand Beach Memorial Stadium.

The annual Junior High Invitational Track Meet will run during the morning and into the afternoon. For the evening entertainment, the PHS Lady Huskies soccer team is to make its home season debut. Starting time is set at 5:30 p.m. for the non-district clash with the Cushing Lady Tigers.

Pawhuska’s girls squad had headed into its District 4A-8 opener at Grove showing an overall record of 1-1. The Lady Ridgerunners were reporting no official matches for the year, although they are believed to have lost a March 10 home match, 3-0, against Metro Christian.

“I think we’re in pretty good shape to be starting in the districts,” head coach Giovanie Soliano said Monday. “We’ve got one girl with a broken finger, but everybody seems ready to get this season rolling.”

A veteran group of seniors — Stephanie Clifton, Genie Herren, Hannah Horn, Karissa Hughes, Keylee Kirk, Danae Laird, Sarah Phillippi and Bailey Sutherland — should make PHS a solid contender in its district…and all of Class 4A.

After falling on the road to Class 6A Enid in their first match of the 2016 campaign, the Lady Huskies nabbed three wins in a row to claim the championship at Oologah’s Mustang Showcase tournament. PHS’s early wins were against quality jayvee squads from Claremore and Owasso, with the title triumph coming in a shootout the Skiatook Lady Bulldogs.

Oologah, last year’s district champ, claimed all three of its Showcase victories (included one over Claremore’s JV) plus its second-round loss to the Union B team. The final tourney win for the Lady Mustangs was versus another district foe, the Commerce Lady Tigers. Sporting a 1-4 mark, the Lady Tigers were crushed by Skiatook, 10-0, in their Showcase debut. Pawhuska will play an April 8 district match at Commerce.

The Lady Huskies’ non-district opponent for Thursday’s home opener at Ormand Beach Stadium — the Cushing Lady Tigers — took a 1-1 record into a scheduled home meeting Tuesday with Wright Christian. In back-t0-back matches two weeks ago, Cushing beat McCloud, 10-0, and then lost by a 5-3 score to Newkirk.

PHS will be back at “The Beach” next Tuesday, March 29, for a district showdown against the Miami Lady Wardogs — with another 5:30 kickoff. Two nights later, the Lady Huskies’ match with 4A-8 foe Tulsa Webster is slated to start at 6p.m.

Because of the impending start of the district season, Pawhuska’s girls held regular practices over last week’s spring break. The Lady Huskies topped off a productive week when the hosted an Indian Taco fundraiser at Buffalo Joe’s restaurant. Coach Soliano said the event successfully raised more than $2,000 for the program.

The remainder of the PHS district schedule includes a Tuesday, April 5, match at Sequoyah-Claremore. Three nights later, the Lady Huskies will make the trip to Commerce for an unusual Friday meeting. Starting time against both the Lady Tigers and Sequoyah is to be 6 p.m.

Kickoffs return to 5:30 p.m. for Pawhuska’s last three regular-season matchups, which will all be played at home: Tuesday, April 12, with Riverfield; Thursday, April 14, versus Verdigris and, following a breather, April 25 (a Monday) against Oologah.