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March 9, 2013

Broken Arrow wins shootout to upset North

NORMAN — The Norman North boys hadn’t lost a regular-season game in the state of Oklahoma in almost three years. Broken Arrow had already lost two this season.

It didn’t matter.

Friday night at the North pitch, the Tigers handed Class 6A’s reigning state champs a 2-1 loss, the winning tally not a tally at all, but several as Broken Arrow dominated the deciding shootout after both teams played 80 minutes to a goal-each deadlock.

“It’s kind of a classic example of a team that was kind of in a desperate situation and wanted it more than we did,” North coach Geo Claros said.

The Tigers hadn’t lost to chumps — Jenks and Union — but that was no comfort to the T-Wolves after being stunned in their home opener.

In the shootout, Claros went with Mauri Cichero in goal over Daniel Taylor, despite the fact Cichero had spent the previous 80 minutes in North’s midfield.

Cichero had worked in net in practice and Claros thought he was the better fit against a buffet line of penalty kicks, but it didn’t work out that way as Claros moved one way and the ball the other on four consecutive Tiger strikes from Eddie Hubbard, Blake Carr, Jeremy Rector and Landen Merrill.

For North, Cichero beat Broken Arrow keeper Sean Fries, but Fries turned around and stonewalled both Ashton Bray and Carson Cacciatori. When Merrill, the Tigers’ fourth kicker, converted, the game was over.

North outshot Broken Arrow 9-7 and allowed only a single shot in the first half, from Carr, from just beyond the penalty box after a defensive turnover. It came with 25:14 remaining in the first half and and Taylor couldn’t stop it.

North (1-1) answered less than 5 minutes later when Luke Moore, off a corner kick, pinballed the ball home off a Tiger defender.

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