Wagoner 2, Hilldale 1 (SO)
The Bulldogs never-say-die attitude on offense and the defensive play of goal keeper Jarrett Ellis helped Wagoner capture its first win of the season in a shootout.
Despite a decisive edge in shots-on-goal (17-9), the Hornets couldn’t convert their opportunities and Wagoner made them pay.
“My boys needed this win,” said an enthused coach Carr. “When you start 0-4, it affects your confidence level.
“We scrimmaged Hilldale earlier, so we knew what to expect. I told them before the game this is one you can win if you’ll just come out and play and that’s what they did.”
After a scoreless first half, the No.11-ranked Hornets (3-2) got on the board when Hunter Woods gathered a loose ball in front of the net and fired it in for a 1-0 lead with 13:50 to play in the game. Wagoner tied the game on a tap in front of the net by Colby Taylor that deflected off Hilldale goal keeper Michael Breckon with just 1:28 left.
In the shootout, things were still tied after the original five players from each team took their turns, with each team hitting three penalty shots and missing two. That meant extra players. Junior Blake Moua stepped up for the Bulldogs and knocked it in to the lower left corner. That put it on the shoulders of Hilldale senior Chase Staner, whose shot to the lower left corner was blocked by Ellis as the Wagoner sideline erupted.
For Hornet first year coach David Saunders, the loss was tough to take.
“From the beginning I thought there was just one team that was going to win that game and that was us. At halftime I told them you’ve got to create chances and score because I still felt like we were the dominant team in the game,” said Saunders. “But credit Wagoner. They never stopped even after we scored late in the game.”
All four teams will return to action in the Wagoner Tournament starting Thursday.