By Clay Horning
The Norman Transcript
EDMOND — Double overtime, down to 10 players, away from home, the Norman North girls’ 3-2 victory over Edmond Memorial was a fantastic triumph. Also, it might have been an even more disastrous loss.
Only that’s not what happened because, strangely, North was never better until it was forced to play shorthanded.
Seemingly fueled by their shorthandedness, the Timberwolves led extra-frames shooting 5-0 and, before it was done, had already made Memorial keeper Morgan McGee make three saves in extra time, two more than she’d made the length of regulation.
With 6:03 remaining in the second overtime, it was done, when sophomore forward Francesca Ryan corralled the forward feed of Camille Greer and, from about 15 yards on the right flank, beat McGee in the bottom left corner. McGee got a hand on it, but that only made it seem like the Bulldogs lost in slow motion.
“I had to do what I had to do for us to win,” McGee said. “I just tried my hardest.”
North (5-2, 2-0 District 6A-2), who many might have thought could win every game it played this season, stumbled opening day against Union. Then, after topping Norman High and Westmoore, was blown out 3-0 against Broken Arrow at the just completed Heart of America Classic, hosted by Tulsa Kelley.
That was followed by a huge rebound: a 4-1 victory over No. 9 Edmond North and a 1-0 shootout triumph over No. 5 Kelley.
Had the seventh-ranked T-Wolves left Memorial with a loss, after leading and dominating throughout most of the second half, it would have gone a long way toward invalidating North’s most recent results.
It didn’t happen.
“There was a lot of tension on the field so it would have been a really big deal for everybody, personally, to lose,” said forward Haley Woodard, who tied the game 1-1 in the first half. “You know, we’re trying to make a statement, that we’re not just kidding around … We didn’t want people to look down us, so we’re trying to get back and prove ourselves and keep going.”
North seemed to have the game in hand, leading 2-1 after McGee gave up a rebound on a shot from Blakely Bynum, only to have Lexi Carroll knock it home.
That came with 21:56 remaining and North continued to own the lion’s share of possession, while allowing Memorial few opportunities.
It all changed with about 6 minutes to play.
Memorial’s Reagan Ballard played a corner kick into the North goal mouth where the ball pinballed around and appeared headed into the twine until the hand and arm of Luka Joyner kept it out.
Ruled intentional, Joyner was red-carded and Lana Duke tied the game, placing a penalty kick past North keeper Kali Newman.
Memorial’s Laramie Hall and Woodward had traded tallies in the first half.
“I thought we played extremely well in the second half,” North coach Don Rother said. “There was 20, 25 minutes where (Memorial) they didn’t ever attack the goal.”
Nonetheless, it was 2-2 after 80 minutes. The T-Wolves, though, weren’t done taking over.
Follow me @clayhorning
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