NORMAN — It is the year of living dangerously for Norman High boys soccer. In related news, the Tigers remain undefeated.
They were at it again Friday night at Harve Collins Field where NHS corralled its seventh straight victory to begin the season.
One of those victories has been by multiple goals, three have been by a single goal and three, like Friday’s, have been via shootouts.
Officially, the Tigers’ victory over Putnam City North went down as a 2-1 decision. Unofficially, it meant NHS keeper Andrew Arledge stopped one shootout attempt and PCN keeper Dylan Rodolf stopped none.
“We’ve played seven games and had three shootouts,” NHS coach Gordon Drummond said, with equal parts amazement and disbelief.
More amazing than the shootout was the fact the Tigers only got to it by tying the Panthers 1-1 with 2:30 remaining.
PCN (2-5) scored the game’s first goal with 10:16 remaining on a screaming 33-yard free kick from Oscar Moreno that very nearly grazed the top of the Tigers’ wall and the near-side left post, just out of Arledge’s reach.
Playing catch-up, NHS owned the rest of the game, but scoring chances were still hard to come by.
Time was running out when Zac Terry played a 45-yard free kick about eight feet off the ground and a couple of feet inside the left post. NHS midfielder Matt Hockett and Rodolf both made a play for the ball, with Hockett’s head winning the battle.
The change of direction left Roldolf no chance and the game was even.
“It was a great ball from Zac,” said Hockett, who’s a big target at 6-4. “We practice that all the time.”
In the shootout, Arledge stoned PCN’s Richard Gallegos, while Haydn Jones, Jorge Briones, Omar Ramirez, Matt Tidwell and Reed Shafer-Ray all converted for the Tigers.
“We played hard but just not as well as we normally play,” Hockett said. “But we found a way to win and pulled it off. A typical Norman High win.”
Norman High girls 6, Putnam City North 3: Those not wild about soccer because nobody scores should have been watching the NHS and PCN girls Friday night.
Though there were no goals the last 14 minutes of the first half and no goals the first 14 minutes of the second, there were still nine in all with the Tigers (5-3) doubling up the Panthers (4-3).
Lauren Goodman finished with two goals and two assists for the Tigers. Tana Stevens added two goals. Gracie Koonce added a goal and an assist and Asha Haile added a single goal.
Karla Cabello added two goals for the Panthers.
Stevens scored NHS’ first two and the Tigers never trailed, though Cabello pulled the Panthers within 4-3 in the 65th minute.
NHS coach Tyler Hardage wasn’t surprised by his team’s onslaught.
“Last week we were able to practice the whole week and I think that really helped offensively,” he said. “I think we played at a higher level than we have been.”
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