The Shawnee girls won their district opener over East Central on Tuesday, downing the Lady Cardinals in a shootout.
Shawnee girls soccer coach Justin McCain wanted to see a more consistent effort from his team, especially when it came to the end of games.
On Tuesday evening, he got it, as the Lady Wolves scored the tying goal late in the second half then prevailed in a shootout to get a 3-2 win over East Central in the District 5A-4 opener for both teams.
“We’ve been in position [to win] in a lot of games,” McCain said. “We haven’t been able to finish. Including the preseason, we’ve lost six shootouts.”
The Lady Wolves (4-3 overall, 1-0 in District 5A-4) trailed for long stretches of the game after the Lady Cardinals (4-4, 0-1) scored the game’s opening goal with 16 minutes left in the first half.
The Lady Wolves controlled the game for much of the first half, creating several scoring chances, including a shot off the post by Jordan Leach late in the half.
Leach found the back of the net and tied the game for Shawnee with a goal from about 15 yards less than nine minutes into the second half.
The Lady Cardinals bounced right back a little over five minutes later, taking a 2-1 lead.
It looked like that lead would hold up until Chelsea Evans was fouled in front of the goal with 2:06 left in the game. Evans drilled home the penalty shot to tie the game and force overtime.
After two scoreless overtime periods, the game went to penalty kicks. The two squads were tied at three after the first five kicks. After East Central missed on their sixth kick, Kalei Waitman hit the game winner for the Lady Wolves.
“It was a good morale booster,” McCain said. “We had every girl working hard tonight. It gives me a lot of hope.”
East Central 4, Shawnee 0 (boys)
The second-rated Cardinals showed why they are one of the top teams in Class 5A with their win over the Wolves.
East Central (6-1 overall, 1-0 in District 5A-4) scored three times in a 10 minutes stretch that spanned the first and second halves.
The Cardinals scored twice in the final 6:30 of the first half, then netted a third goal two minutes into the second half for a 3-0 lead.
East Central tacked on the game’s final goal with 23:20 left in the game.
Dannie McElfresh had eight saves in goal for Shawnee (3-4, 0-1), who managed three shots on goal of their own.
Despite the loss, Wolves head coach Paul Marshall remained optimistic.
“[East Central] is a very talented team. They moved the ball well. We could’ve fallen apart, but we kept playing. It was frustrating, but there are positives we can take from it. We created scoring chances against a very good team.”
Shawnee soccer will travel to Durant for a pair of District 5A-4 contests on Friday before returning home on Tuesday to face Coweta.