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Final district match trio to decide PHS soccer fate

Pawhuska soccer fans are due for a bonus home match Thursday when the long lost Lady Ropers from Tulsa Will Rogers High School come to town for a match with the up-and-coming PHS Lady Huskies.

The district contest with Tulsa Rogers squad was added to the Pawhuska schedule just last week. It is set for a 6 p.m. start at Ormand Beach Memorial Stadium.

“PHS Senior Night” will be observed at the Thursday home match. The Lady Huskie squad includes three senior members: Jeni Hendricks, Stormee Avalone and Hunter Sutherland.

On Monday, Tulsa Rogers hosted Verdigris for its first official soccer appearance since 2010. The Lady Cardinals handed the Ropers a swift mercy-rule defeat, by a score of 10-0. The outing to Pawhuska is to conclude the season for the Rogers squad.

The Lady Huskies were slated to make a road trip Tuesday to the Muskogee area for a key District 4A-8 showdown against the Hilldale Lady Hornets. (A recap of that match will appear in next week’s newspaper.)

PHS coach Gary Hughes said he planned to move junior Morgan Waddle to forward in an attempt to generate more offense against Hilldale.

“We’ll try to shake things up a little bit,” said the coach. “I’m hoping that increase her activity level will help us. We have not been getting the finish we need.”

When the Hilldale squad played last season at Pawhuska, the Lady Huskies held a 3-2 edge at halftime en route to a 6-2 home triumph.

The Lady Hornets came out on the short end of a 6-0 score versus the visiting Verdigris Lady Cardinals in their district opener last Thursday at Hilldale. Three nights earlier, in the first district match of the year, the defending state champion Lady Cardinals shut out Pawhuska, 2-0.

“We came out like deer in the headlights,” Hughes said. “Verdigris got both goals right at the start on two easy breakaways. I think the first one was scored in the first 30 seconds.”

Hughes said the early breakdowns were partly attributable to “freshman mistakes.”

The Hilldale loss to Verdigris put the Cardinals in firm control of the district race and dropped the Hornets into a tie with the Lady Huskies in the 4A-8 standings. Hilldale was to enter Tuesday’s match with a 1-6 season record, while the visitors from PHS brought in a 3-2 overall mark. Both squads stood 0-1 in district play, however.

For their final regular-season game, the Lady Huskies are facing another critical road test next Tuesday. The PHS girls will play the Wagoner Lady Bulldogs, with a starting time is listed for 5:30 p.m.

Last year at Pawhuska, the two teams battled into overtime before the Bulldogs escaped with a 3-2 triumph. That contest also came as the regular-season finale.

This year’s PHS soccer squad might very well wind up with another opportunity to play its way in to the Class 4A state tournament. Play-in matches are scheduled for Friday, April 26, with teams and sites still to be determined.

A year ago, the Lady Huskies earned their first-round berth in the tourney by winning a play-in match at Miami, 4-0, over the hosting Lady Wardogs.

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