If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. It’s a motto that the Hilldale Hornets took to heart.
After the potential winning goal late in the game was disallowed by an offsides call, the Hornets regrouped and beat Metro Christian 1-0 on penalty kicks in an inter-class battle Tuesday night at Hornet Stadium.
“It was a tough, physical, fast contest. At times the wind got us out how we usually like to play so we talked about that at half time,” said head coach Connor Schwab. “They’re quick, they man-mark extremely well and kind of knocked us off our game at times.”
The Hornets were much more the aggressors as they outshot the Class 5A Patriots 8-1 in the first half. The best scoring chance for Hilldale came halfway through the first half when Max James centered a pass to Josh Triplett, whose shot was just wide of the goal.
The second half was a more even affair as each side had a couple of scoring opportunities that just missed or were turned away.
Then with 5:30 left in the game, James and Triplett teamed up again with James passing to the left of the goal and Triplett putting it in the net. But the loud cheers from the Hornet faithful quickly subsided as the referee ruled that Triplett was off-sides on the play.
It was scoreless at the end of regulation, setting up the penalty kick scenario with five players from each side alternating kicks. Augustin Rubio started with a goal for the Patriots and Triplett followed suit for Hilldale. Austin Rubio kicked next for Metro Christian and Hornet goalkeeper Peyton Bennett went low to block the shot.
“I just guess right before he took the shot that he was going to try to shoot it under me and I guessed right,” said the junior goal keeper.
Kaleb DiNoia for Hilldale and Brady Gerstenberger for the Patriots both hit their shots. Corbet Weaver was the third Hornet to shoot and knocked it into the upper right corner. Then came a big plus for Hilldale as Zac Fennell hit his try over the goal for Metro Christian.
Latham Weaver was next for Hilldale and he calmly knocked it home to clinch the win, the third straight for the Hornets (3-1).
“I just knew I had to be confident when I went up there and not have any doubt about making it or not,” said Latham, one of three Weaver brothers on the Hilldale roster.
“I watched the goalie during the previous kicks and so I knew where I was going to kick it before I ever got up there.”
The elder Weaver and his backline teammates played a strong defensive game, allowing only three shots on goal the whole game. But one of those was in the second half when Fennell hit a shot point blank but right at Bennett who made the save.
Metro 3, Hilldale 1
The Lady Patriots were the dominant team in this game particularly in the first half when they took the lead on a break away by Sara Thomas and just missed on two other shots off the crossbar and the goal post. They outshot the Lady Hornets 5-1 in the half.
Thomas continued to be a pain for the Hornets (1-2) in the second half as she assisted on two goals that were finished off by Karsyn Combs for Metro Christian (3-1).
Hilldale’s score came with 14:30 to play as Makenley Billings dribbled through traffic and passed off to Savannah Jorgensen who knocked it in.
“We knew they would be a tough challenge since we played them last year,” said Schwab, who coaches both boys and girls.
“We made some adjustments at the half and put girls in different spots and played better. We told the girls we’d be playing some challenging teams because that’s what going to make us better as we continue to improve.”
Both Hilldale squads will be in action this weekend in the Oologah Showcase Tournament.