By Nick Hampton
GLENPOOL — And the Season of Redemption continues for the Fort Gibson Lady Tigers.
After an emotional win over Wagoner on Tuesday, little Gabby Escamillia fought for a loose ball in the penalty box and kicked in the winning goal with 35 seconds to play to lift Fort Gibson to a come from behind 3-2 win over Glenpool at the Chaffin Sports Complex Friday night in the Class 4A soccer quarterfinals.
The Lady Tigers will host the Class 4A semifinal game next Tuesday against the winner of Cache, who defeated Piedmont on Friday.
The win marked another history-making event for the No. 2 ranked Lady Tigers. Earlier in the season they became the first team in school history to win back-to-back district championships. And Friday’s victory now makes them the first girls’ soccer team at Fort Gibson to make it as far as the state semifinals. The win Friday was also the first time this season the Lady Tigers have had to come from behind to win.
“This was the only time we’ve had to play from behind. In our only loss, (to Catoosa) they scored two goals in the last six minutes to beat us,” said Snyder. “I’ve got six seniors who just don’t want it With a stiff breeze at their back to start the game, Eighth ranked Glenpool jumped out to the lead. Fort Gibson was called for a handball in the penalty box and Kylie Davis was successful on a penalty kick for the Lady Warriors to make it 1-0 with 10 minutes gone in the game. Five minutes later, Megan Musick punched in a header in from 10 yards out to make it 2-0.
“I told the girls before the game that we would have the wind in the second half and so we had to weather the storm in the first half,” said Snyder. “I kept telling them ‘let’s just get one goal and stay close at halftime’ and we did.”
Fort Gibson’s first-half goal came after a throw-in by Raelee Waltman deep in Glenpool’s end. Senior midfielder Lillian Bear maneuvered into the middle after taking the throw in and found the upper left corner of the net to cut the Glenpool lead to 2-1.
“Even though we were behind, there was no panic at halftime,” said Snyder. “We knew we would have the wind behind us in the second half and we just had confidence we would take it to them.”
It took the Lady Tigers (11-1) less than a minute to tie the game in the second half as Brooke Benham got a loose ball on the left side of the penalty box and got it under the goal keeper to tie the game at 2-2.
Later in the half, FGHS goal keeper Kyndra Johnson made a sparkling save off a low line-drive free kick that she smothered and hung to on as Glenpool (11-4) tried to kick the ball free from her.
“I got down on it and had it my hands,” said the senior keeper. “They kept attacking the ball and I just kept thinking ‘I’ve got to hold to this. I can’t let her have this’ and fortunately I did.”
It looked like the game was headed for overtime when the Lady Tigers had one last push. And among all the tall players, the pint-sized Escamillia found the loose ball in front of the goal and punched it in as the Fort Gibson bench and fans erupted in joy.
“It was a cross from Jordan (Raynor). Sanya (Januszweski) tried to put it in and it deflected off a defender and I was lucky enough to get it in,” said an overjoyed Escamillia.