By Corbin Hosler
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — It wasn’t a perfect night for Norman North’s soccer teams, but it was close enough. After a pair of decisive victories, both squads are into Friday’s quarterfinals.
For the girls, it was easy, with a 5-0 halftime lead allowing them to cruise to a 6-0 win. It was a much tougher start for the boys, who scored an own goal and didn’t seize control until late in the first half.
But for both teams, it was enough.
“We’re into Friday,” girls coach Don Rother said. “And if we come out with the same intensity we did tonight, we’ll be ready to play, no matter who it is.”
While Friday’s quarterfinals had the potential to be a Crosstown Clash all around, it is instead just the boys who face Norman High after Mustang upset the Tigers 1-0 in the first game at NHS. The girls will face off against Mustang at 6 p.m. Friday at North at Bryan Young Field, setting the stage for a Clash on the boys’ side at 8 p.m.
In the only regular-season meeting between the two teams on March 12, the Tigers won 1-0 on the back of penalty kicks.
“I want them and the guys want them,” coach Geo Claros said. “They’re one of the teams that beat us, and we want revenge on those teams. We’re a better team than we were then.”
Norman North girls 6, Southmoore 0: It was clear that things were going the Timberwolves’ way when North’s Kali Newman scored. The fact that North scored wasn’t unique; the T-Wolves did that six times. What was special was that Newman is the Timberwolves’ goalkeeper.
The play — in which the wind made the high-bouncing ball travel quickly through the air before bouncing over the head of Southmoore’s goalkeeper, who had come out to the top of the box to meet it — put North on top 3-0 midway through the first half.
“I didn’t expect that at all,” said Newman, whose punt bounced twice before rolling into the net. “I was hoping that one of the forwards would be able to get a foot on it. But when I saw it bounce over her head I was thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, is it really in the back of the net?’”
But North wasn’t done, and the Timberwolves didn’t need any more flukes to score. They dominated from the start, with Lexi Carroll scoring just four minutes into the contest. She also added another goal in the half as North built a 5-0 halftime lead on its way to a 6-0 win.
The scoring slowed in the second half as Rother cleared the bench. But the longtime coach saw more than enough from his squad to know that they’re ready for Friday’s matchup with Mustang, which upset Norman High on Tuesday.
“What we did tonight was amazing, to be honest,” Rother said. “We came out with very good intensity and put them under a lot of pressure. That’s a good team we came out and beat like that.”
Norman North boys 4, Yukon 1: The Timberwolves overcame a first-half lull to pull away from Yukon for a 4-1 win.
After coming out attacking and taking a 1-0 lead on a display of hustle and teamwork, the Timberwolves gave it back with an own goal on a miscommunication midway through the first half. That seemed to set the Timberwolves into a funk that lasted until Garrett Gibbs scored on a header with 4:22 left in the first half to put North back on top, and the senior followed it with another goal a minute later to put the T-Wolves firmly in control.
The first goal was especially impressive. Matt Gann made a sliding kick to save the ball from rolling out of bounds near midfield, and Jacob Jerles then ran down the ball and delivered a perfect cross to Jonathan Newton, who finished off the play with the goal.
“We were a little tense at times, especially early on,” Claros said, “but we did some nice things. Mostly, it’s good to just get a taste of the playoffs. That first game is always tough. Now you can get down to just playing.”
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