NORMAN — Time after time, the Norman North girls kept knocking on the door. One good scoring chance after another either slid wide, high, was broken up or saved.
On a night the Timberwolves were in control, the scoreboard wasn’t showing it.
But seemingly headed for overtime, Norman North found its way into the Class 6A state soccer championship game in dramatic fashion.
Lexi Carroll’s blast from about 15 yards out deflected off a Broken Arrow defender and into the goal just 11 seconds from the end of regulation time, lifting the T-Wolves to a 1-0 victory and a date in this weekend’s championship game.
North had controlled the play throughout but kept being thwarted, either by the Tiger defense, a solid game in goal from its goalkeeper Tayler Stover, and later a rain-slicked field that made playmaking more difficult after halftime.
But in the closing 30 seconds, junior Haley Woodard fought for a 50-50 ball and played it to the outside of the box to Carroll, who spun away from a defender and fired a blast that bounced off the leg of a Tiger defender trying to clear it from in front. It officially was scored as an own goal, but is still just as sweet in lifting North to a state championship opportunity.
“I just looked at the clock with 20 seconds left, and knew I needed to make something happen,” Carroll said.
“We felt like we left a lot out there in the first half,” said North coach Don Rother. “And then the rain makes things tough, the ball skipped all the time, so it was a little more difficult.
“But they just kept putting themselves in position and it finally paid off. Sometimes you need to get some luck, and maybe we got a little lucky there.”
North had knocked on the door many times earlier on a night it owned an 11-5 shot edge. Stover kept them out with several good saves, the best on a blast by Francesca Ryan about 23 minutes from the end. The Tiger defense also blocked two balls early in the second half on the goal line that Stover couldn’t get her hands on to save goals.