By Clay Horning
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — All it takes is one.
Sometimes it never comes.
Sometimes it comes too late.
The first time the Norman North girls put the ball in the net Friday night it was Lauren Morf beating Mustang keeper Brandi Hutchison at about 8:15 p.m. of a game that began at 6 p.m. That was bad news for the Timberwolves, who penciled Morf in as their third kicker of the shootout that finally decided things after 100 minutes of soccer failed.
Sheridan Spellman converted, too, for the Timberwolves, but that was it. North never got to its fifth kicker because the Broncos put four past North keeper Kali Newman.
“It is a cruel game,” North coach Don Rother said.
Isn’t it though.
Officially, the Broncos prevailed 1-0.
Unofficially, a fantastic T-Wolves’ season came to a premature end. North finished 11-3-1, with one of the losses and the tie coming at the Heart of America Classic in Lee’s Summitt, Mo.
In the state of Oklahoma, they gave up only one goal in a stunning 1-0 loss at Bishop McGuinness, the season’s only clunker. Otherwise they were dominant. Early, they were plenty dominant against Mustang, too.
The Broncos put the single best shot on goal when Alina Magruder, the girl who had the game’s only tally three days earlier at Norman High, laced a left-footed strike toward the far-high corner eight minutes into the second half. Newman laid out in full dive and not only stopped it, but grabbed it as though catching it with Velcro. It was the Broncos’ only serious opportunity in regulation.
North had many more, yet none of them required heroics from Hutchison or Abby Karbs, each of which played a half in net.
Lexi Carroll had three strong chances in the first half for the T-Wolves, with two of them clearing the crossbar and the third dribbling wide after the keeper had charged to cut down the angle.
The second half produced fewer chances for the T-Wolves even as they owned the action still more than the first.
In the final 10 seconds of regulation, North rushed to get a corner kick away and pulled it off when Carroll beautifully placed the ball about 8 yards in front of the Mustang net, where Madison Marquardt put a head on it only to send it over the crossbar.
In the final 5 seconds of the first overtime, North freshman Francesca Ryan found herself about 10 yards from the net with the ball in front of her and only Karbs to beat. She had no chance to really step into it, but she had a free swing and kicked it directly to Karbs.
After that, it was left to the shooting, perhaps no way to decide a game, but what’s a team to do? Always it favors the underdog, and after Simone Ryan was stopped and Rachel Gibson sailed her chance high, it was Mustang’s to lose.
The Broncos didn’t.
“I feel like we’re definitely the better soccer team, I don’t think there’s any question about that,” Rother said. “It’s frustrating. We only got scored on once the whole year and we wind up losing like that.”
It’s a cruel game.
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