By Clay Horning
The Norman Transcript
EDMOND — Ranked No. 5 in the state and the winners of six straight games, three of them over top 10 teams, the Norman North girls looked every bit the dominant team Thursday night at Edmond Santa Fe … right up until they flirted with giving it all away.
“That’s just not good enough,” coach Don Rother told the Timebrwolves following their 3-2 victory.
North outshot Santa Fe 21 to 5. It earned 11 corner kicks to Santa Fe’s five.
There were times in the first half the Timberwolves made the game look so easy, knocking the ball around with such deftness, whether or not the Wolves would ever control the ball beyond midfield seemed like an open question.
Instead, the game very nearly went to overtime after the Santa Fe controlled the second half of the second half, though Rother was still concerned prior to that.
“The second half, it was just kind of lackadaisical everywhere, lackadaisical finishing,” he said. “I mean, you can’t get easier chances to score goals. That was an easy eight goals (we should have had).
“We probably had six one-on-ones that were like 100 percent shots. Apparently they’re not 100 percent shots.”
Santa Fe’s combination of Ivanna Revis and Pamela Caballeros made it 3-2 with Revis serving up a free kick with about 12 minutes remaining, and a hard shot off the crossbar with 2 minutes remaining, both of which here headed home by Caballeros.
In the time remaining, North survived two more threats to reach its penalty box.
“We need to learn how to work hard the whole game, whether they’re better than us or not as good as us,” North senior defender Simone Ryan said. “You have to play the same. It doesn’t matter how good they are, we have to play the same.”
North struck first when Francesca Ryan found Haley Woodard, who slipped the ball past Santa Fe goalkeeper Kaitlin Price with 27:23 remaining in the first half.
North’s most exciting goal came 2:05 into the second half, when Lexi Carroll’s corner kick from the right side found the head of Mackenzie Marquardt, who flicked it home with more velocity than most kicks.
Inside of 7 minutes remaining, it was Woodard assisting Francesca Ryan to put North up 3-0.
Still, the way it ended wasn’t the way the T-Wolves wanted it to go.
Rother thought the ease with which the game came to his team early contributed to his team taking it easy late.
“You’re not having to put a lot of work into it and I feel like it circulates in everything you do,” he said.
A make-up of what was supposed to be an opening night matchup, the rest of the regular season, North (8-2, 4-0 District 6A-2) has nothing but district games remaining. The same goes for Santa Fe (6-4, 4-0 District 6A-3).
The T-Wolves will try hitting their stride before the postseason arrives.
Said Rother, “We just got to get our edge on.”
Follow me @clayhorning
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