, Muskogee, OK


June 14, 2014

All-State: Round Two: East, West split Class 5A battles

Fans in attendance at the Class 5A All-State girls soccer game got a lesson in how important it is to play defense.

The East limited the West to three shots on goal, holding on for a 2-1 win on Creek Nation Field  at Indian Bowl on Friday.

Tahlequah’s Sam Chaffin, who was the starting goalkeeper for the East, knew the importance of limiting the West’s touches.

“I just had to keep talking to my team and telling them where to go,” Chaffin said. “This feels great to go off with a win.”

The first half of the game was a struggle for both sides offensively as the East managed only four shots on goal compared to the West’s two. However, the East’s second shot was successful as Annaly Ferrell dribbled around a defender and blasted a shot past West goalkeeper Hayley Weaver from Deer Creek with 26:31 left to put the East up 1-0.

That lead would last only six minutes as Denesse Longoria of Guymon got a pass from JuliAnne Williamson of Noble and broke free, putting a shot past a defenseless Sam Chaffin of Tahlequah to knot the score at 1-1 with 20:03 remaining.

Midfielder Kalie Champlain, who along with Chaffin and defender Rachael Brown completed the trio of Lady Tigers on the East squad, was glad that some of her East teammates were on her side and not the other for a change.

“It was definitely good to be on their team for once,” Champlain said. “I am going to remember most about this week getting to know the all the other girls as teammates and not as opponents.”

The East came out of the locker room and put the pressure on immediately, making sure that the West would not get the ball out of their end. For the first 20 minutes, the East had six shots, three on goal, and took five corner kicks.

Maintaining possession finally paid off when Dalia Perez sent a ball through the box to Caroline Loyd who blasted a shot into the lower left corner with 18:38 left in regulation to give the East a 2-1 advantage.

Meanwhile, the West was still struggling to get the ball past midfield while the East was peppering the West goalkeepers, getting off five shots in the next 12 minutes.

Finally, the West broke free and was able to put some pressure on the East’s defense. However, the only shot the West was able to get off came on a free kick by Courtney Essary of Carl Albert that sailed high and off the right football upright with 6:12 remaining.

“Coach told us at halftime to try to find their strongest players and keep them from getting the ball,” Brown said. “We also wanted to get the ball to our offense quickly and keep their offense in the back.”

The game was a homecoming for West assistant coach Robyn Brewster, who graduated from Muskogee High School in 2006 and was a member of the All-State team that year. She said  that some of the memories of her playing days came back to her during the contest.

“It was great getting to come home and coach on my home field,” Brewster said. “I remembered some of the past goals that I scored, some of the games I played here and some of the moments with my teammates that I had here.”

Brewster, who is the coach at Heritage Hall, also could not say enough about the way her team kept fighting to the end and even made the adjustments the coaching staff suggested.

“They did an outstanding job,” Brewster said of her squad. “We told them to keep working hard and keep doing some of the same things they were doing and eventually it would come our way. Unfortunately, we didn’t some of our opportunities.”

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