Losses hurt PHS soccer’s run for the playoffs

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital
Losses hurt PHS soccer’s run for the playoffs

“These narrow setbacks did not proceed, as some suggested, from failings of courage or of character. The Dodgers were merely unfortunate … it is dreamstuff that luck plays everyone the same.”

“From “The Boys of Summer” by Roger Kahn

A cruel rite of spring repeated itself Thursday at Ormand Beach Memorial Stadium.

For the second straight season, local soccer fans watched Pawhuska High School and Verdigris battle to a 1-1 tie after two 40-minute halves and a pair of scoreless 10-minute overtime periods. Then, once again, the visiting Lady Cardinals slipped away in the twilight with a victory via shootout.

It marked the seventh consecutive year (the entirety of PHS’s soccer history) that the Lady Huskies have lost to Verdigris. In that time, the Lady Cards garnered a half dozen state titles — although two of those were later relinquished due to player-eligibility issues.

The Lady Cardinals went in front with a goal in the match’s 18th minute. A Briana Davis shot from the top of the penalty box was untouched by Pawhuska’s sophomore goalkeeper, Star Sweeden. Just a minute and nine seconds later, Lady Huskie forward Sarah Phillippi tied the score on a short blast to the right side of Verdigris keeper Jessica Williams. The PHS attack had been initiated by senior Karissa Hughes.

That was all the scoring until the shootout, which senior Phillippi opened with a strike to the top middle of the net. After the Cardinals connected with their first shot, Hughes gave the Lady Huskies back the edge with a belt-high strike to the left of Williams. Verdigris quickly re-tied it, at 2-2.

The visiting goalkeeper deflected Pawhuska’s next attempt wide to the left, before the Lady Cardinals scored again. After Williams fielded a one-hopper on the fourth PHS shot of the tie-breaker, Verdigris clinched the match when Emily Crowell sent the eighth shot of the tiebreaker into the net off the top right bar, giving the visitors an insurmountable 4-2 advantage in the best-of-five-shot session.

The Lady Cards improved to 6-0 in District 4A-8, while the Lady Huskies fell to 4-2.

While PHS’s playoff chances were dimmed by the loss, two results from the Claremore area put the locals back into the hunt. Playing on its home turf, the Sequoyah Lady Eagles knocked off Oologah, 3-2, on Thursday and then took down Miami, 4-0, Friday.


In drizzling rain Monday on the artificial surface of Oologah, the Lady Huskies were doomed by self-inflicted goals in a two-goal setback — 5-3 — to the Lady Mustangs.

Oologah (8-3, 4-2) took a 2-0 lead into halftime. The first point came when the home team’s corner kick bounced off a PHS defender and into the goal. A second was unhindered from 30 yards out.

Pawhuska reduced the lead to one on a goal by senior midfielder Keylee Kirk, before another long shot ricocheted in for the Lady Mustangs. After senior forward Genie Herren connected to get the Lady Huskies within a point, at 3-2, the hosts bounced in two more unlikely goals to lead, 5-2, before Herren concluded the scoring.

PHS coach Giovanie Soliano lamented the district defeat as “the worst game” his Lady Huskies have played all season.

“It was just terrible,” Soliano said afterward.

The loss completed the regular schedule for Pawhuska, which a 7-4 overall and 5-3 in District 4A-8 will need a fortunate tie-breaker scenario to develop if it is to reach a play-in game for the postseason.

“We could still make it as part of a three-or four-team tie, but things are not looking good for us,” the PHS coach added.



In a April 12 district victory over the west Tulsa private school, the Lady Huskies scored five times each half and ended the match with 12:33 remaining on the clock. Sweeden started in goal and was relieved midway through the opening half by freshman Addie Young.

Karissa Hughes scored the first and fifth PHS goals, with junior McKenzie Fortney notching the second, Genie Herren the third and Keylee Kirk the fourth. Sarah Phillippi started the second half scoring for the Lady Huskies. Freshman Abby Nightengale made it a seven-point PHS advantage before senior Stephanie Clifton scored Nos. 9 and 10 for the home squad. The clinching goal was by Lady Huskie junior Samantha Lookout.



(at conclusion of play on April 18)


Verdigris: 7-6 : 6-0

Pawhuska: 7-4 : 5-3

Oologah: 8-3 : 4-2

Miami: 7-4 : 4-2

Sequoyah: 5-5 : 4-2

Grove: 2-4 : 2-3

Riverfield: 1-5 : 1-5

Commerce: 2-10 : 1-5

Webster: 0-9 : 0-6


Monday, April 18

Oologah 5, Pawhuska 3

Friday, April 15

Sequoyah 4, Miami 0

Metro Chr. 3, Verdigris 0

Thursday, April 14

Verdigris 2, Pawhuska 1 OT/Ext

Sequoyah 2, Oologah 1

Tuesday, April 12

Pawhuska 10, Riverfield 0

Miami 4, Commerce 0

Verdigris 3, Oologah 0