The Norman Transcript

Sports

May 7, 2013

Resilient T-Wolves ready for soccer playoff battle

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Good for the T-Wolves, overcoming has become their thing this season.

“It’s definitely been a resilient team. It hasn’t been easy,” coach Geo Claros said. “We’ll have to have people step up that haven’t been our usual guys, but that’s why we’re a team … We try to count on all 22 in some capacity.”

It’s worth noting that North claimed a state title last season almost without Matt Ward, a senior starter who played only a few short title-game minutes with his arm in a sling; without Johnson, who suffered a broken ankle; and about half the championship game without Mauro Cichero, who broke his nose in the final.

There’s also the fact the T-Wolves adjusted this season, particularly after coming back from Alabama, when Claros opted to take a quieter tone only to watch his team explode offensively.

“They responded,” Claros said. “There are still moments where we’re going to want to get better out of them, but I think they put the ball in their court to really play a lot better and asked more of themselves down the stretch for sure.”

Prior to meeting U.S. Grant April 8, North had scored at least four goals only once in its previous eight games. Beginning with their victory over the Generals, the T-Wolves have scored at least four in every game — a stretch of six wins — until meeting NHS Tuesday.

“There was kind of a moment where he calmed down on the yelling,” senior defender Ashton Bray said of Claros. “He didn’t stop telling us what to do, it was just kind of the way he went about telling us what to do.”

Bray’s not sure it had anything to do with North’s rise, but admitted the timing could lead one to believe as much. Cichero, who leads North with 20 goals, believes it made a difference.

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