By Clay Horning
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The sixth-ranked Norman North boys may struggle to see the game they’ve played as it really was.
Monday night, playing a make-up district contest against seventh-ranked U.S. Grant, the Timberwolves could be forgiven for being a little weary.
Sunday, they returned home from Huntsville, Ala., site of the Southern Soccer Showcase after playing one game Friday and two games Saturday.
“In the beginning, we had to get our legs underneath us,” forward Jonathan Newton said.
Only the T-Wolves appeared urgent. In what became a 4-0 victory, they owned first-half possession, even into a heavy prevailing wind. They scored three of their four goals. They moved the ball with precision.
“I thought we were able to move the ball well in the back and our forwards were able to check to the ball more because we were passing the ball better in the back,” explained Newton.
But while it looked pretty good, the T-Wolves still felt they were dragging.
“Tonight, I kind of throw out the window because the energy we normally have wasn’t there,” coach Geo Claros said.
Junior midfielder Mauro Cichero scored the T-Wolves’ first and second goals, the opener on a screaming low left-to-right penalty kick and the follow-up on a screaming low left-to-right rocket from about 18 yards after Ashton Bray put the ball on his foot. Still, Cichero wasn’t that impressed either.
“We came out pretty strong in Alabama … We came into this game kind of tired,” he said.
North outshot Grant 11-2 and won all seven of the game’s corner kicks.
Bray picked up a second assist on North’s third goal, off the foot of Ethan Dvorak.
The finally tally came just 91 seconds into the second half. Bray started it with a long throw-in from deep in Grant territory, off which a Newton header found the head of Carson Cacciatori, who flicked it past Grant keeper Keanu Duran.
North girls 10, U.S. Grant 0: North coach Don Rother gave his starters pelnty of rest during the 50 minutes it took for the Timberwolves to dispatch the Generals. But it didn’t matter. The game wasn’t going the distance.
North made sure with four quick goals to begin the second half, all in the space of 9:29 off the post-intermission clock.
Lexi Williams scored North’s first and ninth goals. Lauren Morf tallied the T-Wolves’ third and seventh goals. Also putting the ball in the net were Mackenzie Marquardt, Lexi Carroll, Simone Ryan, Luca Joyner, Kristen Wilpitz and Sheridan Spellman.
The T-Wolves outshot the Generals 20-0.
Two successful trips: Both the North girls and boys met Grant coming off out-of-state tournament trips, with the North boys winning two out of three at the Southern Soccer Showcase in Huntsville, Ala., and the North girls going 1-1-1 over two days at the Heart of America Classic in Lee’s Summit, Mo.
The girls fell 2-1 to Incarnate Word Academy (St. Louis), topped Bentonville (Ark.) High 2-1 in a shootout and finished a 0-0 tie against Nerinx Hall (St. Louis) when both teams agreed to forego a shootout.
“It was probably the three best teams we’ve played this season,” North girls coach Don Rother said.
Also, the team North beat — Bentonville — holds shutout victories over both Norman High and Edmond North earlier this season.
The North boys topped Huntsville (Ala.) High 2-0, beat Memphis (Tenn.) University High 1-0 and fell 2-1, in a shootout, to Collierville (Tenn.) High.
Despite the season’s third shootout loss, Claros liked what he saw from his team.
“We played good teams,” he said. “All for about a half in the final, we played well. And in the second half (of the final) we stepped up … Everything that we’re asking them to do is getting better.”
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