FORT GIBSON — The Fort Gibson Lady Tigers decked the Hall with five second-half goals in a dominating 6-0 victory over Holland Hall in the opening round of the Class 4A soccer playoffs at Leo Donahue Tiger Stadium Monday night.
With 10 of their wins being shutouts this season, Fort Gibson got all of the offense they would need in the first eleven minutes of the game as Albany Adair’s corner kick found Sydney Taylor right in front of the goal and the sophomore forward put it in the net for a 1-0 lead. And even though Fort Gibson had thirteen shots on goal in the half, that goal would be the only score. At intermission coach Billy Whitehead said the team talked strategy.
“We talked a little bit about dribbling the ball too much at times so we talked about getting rid of the ball quick and just continue shooting and that’s what we did. I think we had 27 shots on goal total and once we got the second and third goals then they started falling in.”
Reese Webb had a pair of goals on the night-one a beautiful left-footed effort from 20 yards out. Jenna Whiteley, Addie Shaw and Ella Cook also scored for the Lady Tigers while Adair and Grace Parker had assists.
As usual defense was a big key as the Lady Tiger defense limited the Dutch to just four shots on the night in recording their eleventh shutout of the year which was pleasing to Whitehead who is a big believer in defense.
“Defense is where it starts for me,” said Whitehead. “And once we started putting the ball in the back of the net that took a lot of the pressure off that back line.”
One of the key members of the back line is junior Lainey Stach who credits team consistency as a big factor in the Lady Tigers’ stinginess.
“The lineup we have in the back is one that’s been playing together for years. We’ve all grown up together and we’re all in the same grade and so we know each other well and have progressively gotten better as the years have gone by,” said Stach.
“One of the big things tonight was in our pregame. We really got our heads into it and we were ready to play.”
The Lady Tigers move to 12-3 on the season and will move on to the second round of the playoffs Thursday night at Oologah as they seek to avenge a 2-1 loss suffered early in the season. Holland Hall ends its season with a record of 10-6.
Boys: Fort Gibson 7, Cascia Hall 0
Jose Estrada flicked a pass over the top of two defenders to a streaking Rylee Davis, who beat the Cascia Hall goalie easily in the first 30 seconds of the game, and the Tigers were off to the races against the approaching weather in a game that was initially suspended at the 30:07 mark of the second half.
Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association rules state that in order to be considered an official game, the teams must complete 60 of the 80 scheduled minutes. Fort Gibson was 10 minutes short of that mark at that point. But after waiting through the storm, Coach Todd Friend came through with good news.
“We spoke with the OSSAA and they signed off on this as a complete game even though we didn’t play the required 60 minutes,” said Friend, thus ticketing his team for a Thursday matchup against the winner of Tuesday’s game between Miami and Wagoner.
Jose Estrada scored three goals and had an assist for the Tigers while Seth Rowan had two goals and Rylee Davis and Simeon Adair had a goal apiece. Jaxon Perdue was also credited with an assist.
“This is how you want to be playing as you go into the playoffs,” said Friend. “I told the guys to go out strong and fast and that’s what they did in getting that first quick goal and that was very impressive.
“Cascia started packing the box defensively so we had to open that up and once we did it was nice. Jose, Seth, Scout Taylor, just everybody did a great job of knocking the ball about.”
The Tigers move to 11-2 on the season while Cascia Hall ends their campaign at 4-8.