By Clay Horning
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The Norman North boys weren’t the only soccer program in the city celebrating a senior night that included 11 honorees. So, too, were the Norman High girls, who made sure the special night was a good one on the field, too, by coming on strong to stop Edmond Santa Fe 2-0.
The Tigers (9-3, 6-1 District 6A-1) entered the night in a position to finish first, second or third in district play. By topping the Wolves, they did what they could to give themselves a shot at the crown, though Edmond North claimed it instead by topping Putnam City North 2-1.
That aside, it was still a very good night for the Tigers, who will host a playoff game, an honor they failed to secure a year ago.
“We came out in the first half just not playing up to our ability,” coach Tyler Hardage said. “In the second half, we really picked up our play.”
Hardage asked for improved effort at intermission and got it. The Tigers spent the second half on the Wolves’ end of the field, taking the lead when Lauren Goodman fired home a free kick from 23 yards in the 62nd minute. As time was running out on the Wolves, NHS picked up some insurance when Gracie Koonce set up Tana Stevens for a tally deep inside Santa Fe’s penalty box.
Hardage saluted his seniors — Goodman, Stevens, Kalyn Dabney, Courtney Koepp, Shelby Heath, Marissa Landes, Maggie Rahhal, Shiloh Farris, Rylie Carter, Allie Berry, Sola Somade — after the game.
“The girls are just great, they work hard every day in practice, they don’t complain,” he said. “They’re just a great group of girls and it’s going to be sad to see them go.”
And, he thinks, they’re the right group of girls to do some damage in the playoffs.
“I think finishing second in the playoffs is a big deal to them,” he said. “I think this is a great group to move forward.”
Norman North girls 8, Putnam City 0: They had to wait a few extra days to secure it, but the Timberwolves claimed their district title Tuesday, crushing Putnam City.
On senior night, North (10-2-1, 6-1 District 6A-2) received a hat trick from freshman Francesca Ryan.
Kinsey Smalling added a goal and two assists. The T-Wolves also received single goals from Lauren Morf, Sadie Canada, Lexi Carroll and Kristen Wilpitz.
North, which will host the first two rounds of the playoffs, outshot the Pirates 29-4.
Norman North boys 4, Putnam City 0: Having already claimed a district championship, Tuesday night was about getting into the playoffs cleanly for the Timberwolves.
After getting quick goals from a pair of senior defenders, Trent Laffoon and Ashton Bray, North (10-3, 7-0 District 6A-2) had nothing to worry about.
Junior midfielder Mauro Cichero added two more goals before the half was done, giving him 18 tallies on the season, and the T-Wolves, who outshot the Pirates 20-3, coasted home for the victory.
Noble girls 2, Durant 0: Coach Larry Warden’s Bears had already topped the Lions once this season, but Tuesday they had to do it on Durant’s pitch with both a perfect season and a district championship hanging in the balance.
The Bears (13-0, 7-0 District 5A-2) took a while to strike, but when they did it came quickly, with Julianne Williamson scoring in the 65th minutes and Merridian Maxwell offering insurance 5 minutes later.
The Bears, sixth-ranked by the Class 5A coaches, open the playoffs April 30 on their home field.
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