MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Sports

May 6, 2012

Wagoner getting attention: On the radar now, Lady Bulldogs set for semifinal

— Brandon Carr heard the Odom Field stadium announcement Friday night and began planning for a journey across the state Tuesday.

Whoops.

Carr’s Wagoner Lady Bulldogs can skip that 250-mile drive to Elk City. It’s Bethany that advanced in that Class 4A girls soccer quarterfinal, 2-0 on Friday night, and will meet Wagoner in Bethany at 7 p.m. Tuesday, thereby cutting the road trip in half.

There’s been few things that have surprised Carr this season, including the fact that his team, just 9-7 a year ago, is one of four remaining teams in the hunt for a state championship.

“As the Fort Gibson coach (Jaime Snyder) told us last week we have flown under the radar,” Carr said. “And it’s true, we haven’t received much respect. But the only way you do that is by winning. I think we’re finding that respect in the postseason.”

Indeed they have.

Just this past week, Wagoner (12-3) knocked off the No. 3 and previously unbeaten Fort Gibson Lady Tigers 2-1 in double overtime. Then at home on Friday, down went Claremore Sequoyah by the same score, also in overtime.

In both situations, the winning goal was scored by Emily Goodwin. In fact, Goodwin got the Lady Bulldogs into overtime on Friday with her chip-in with 56.8 seconds to play. Goodwin has six of her team’s seven goals in the postseason and 16 for the season.

Goodwin shrugs off the star power.

“We’re a team with eight seniors who have played together since we were 8 to 10 years old,” she said. “Our parents have expected this out of us, we’ve expected it out of ourselves. We’re all one family, probably closer than other teams because of how long we’ve played together.

“But most of all, we don’t quit. We play until the last whistle.”

Carr agrees.

“It’s been about finishing games,” he said. “And I think one significant factor is our work during the off-season particularly with conditioning. We had an emphasis on running and it’s paid off. I think in both overtimes we were in better shape than our opponent.”

The win over Fort Gibson meant a lot to Carr personally. Going into the contest, he was a combined 0-11 against both the boys and girls, having coached the boys team at Wagoner.

He’s also a former player  at the school who played in 1998 and 1999. He experienced a one-and-out postseason as a player, but this is special.

“I changed the lineup and moved some people around but what has helped us is those eight seniors who have all started off and on and they’re now playing with the motivation that each game could be their last,” he said.

Goodwin believes that game isn’t for two more contests. The winner of Tuesday’s game plays Harrah or Verdigris for the championship on Saturday.

“After we beat Glenpool (in the play-in round) then we were like, well, maybe we can win this, then with Fort Gibson it was like we just beat the No. 3 team in the state. We might really have a chance at it.  Now after Friday night, it’s like wow, we’re so close to pulling this off.

“To do so it will take mental toughness and teamwork. We’ve been good at finishing games but we need to play a full 80 minutes without the lapses here and there.”

Bethany (12-4) will take a seven-game win streak into the contest and has outscored opponents 7-0 in three playoff games.

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