By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The last two seasons Heritage Hall has been a thorn in the Stillwater High School girls soccer team's side. So even without two starters, the Lady Pioneers were determined to make the third time the charm.
Senior Olivia Staubus scored two goals while Kelsey Henneha and Lauren Parker each added another as the Lady Pioneers beat the Class 5A No. 7 Chargers 4-0 Tuesday at Pioneer Stadium.
“It was really important for us,” Staubus said. “The past two years we've played them, they’ve beaten us, so it was nice to finally have that victory.”
So how does a team go from losing back-to-back games against an old foe to delivering a 4-0 thrashing? According to Stillwater coach John Fields, look no further than the defense – which limited the Chargers (2-2) to just three shots on goal.
“Even though we have two of our varsity girls out with injuries, we had several of our younger girls step up, get a lot of quality minutes and did an excellent job,” Fields said. “Abriana Bartley stepped up for us and played defender. We’re very proud of Abriana and the way she played tonight.”
That defense coupled with an offense that was on-point the entire night helped the Lady Pioneers (3-0) remain undefeated.
Kelsey Henneha got the scoring started approximately 15 minutes into the match after a Heritage Hall took control early. Five minutes later, Staubus gave the Lady Pioneers a little cushion when she knocked a free ball in the box into the back of the net to give Stillwater a 2-0 lead at half.
“Whenever we get the first goal, it gets us really pumped up,” Staubus said. “We start playing our game and we took them out of their game completely.”
Staubus added another goal about 15 minutes into the second half when the senior got under Kendall Gordon’s high-arching corner kick to extend the lead to 3-0.
“Last week against, Bartlesville our midfielders were a little bit off,” Fields said. “Tonight Olivia was absolutely the player we know her to be. She’s as sharp as an Exact-o knife. The passes that she makes to other girls – always sharp, always at their feet. Shooting, she was right on tonight.”
Staubus continued to pour it on against the Chargers, barely missing out on a hat trick. But while she couldn’t find the back of the net Lauren Parker did for Stillwater’s final goal with about five minutes left in the game.
“This win really gets us pumped up,” Staubus said. “Whenever we play well together, I feel like we can beat any team. I felt like we passed the ball right and worked as a team and I’m glad we got a win.”
Heritage Hall 4, Stillwater 2
Whenever it rains it pours. And for the Stillwater High School boys soccer team it certainly poured Tuesday against Heritage Hall.
The Chargers scored three times in the second half as the Pioneers were unable to keep pace with Heritage Hall in a 4-2 loss.
“It was just a tough game,” Stillwater coach Seth Condley said. “That’s a good team. We played a very difficult preseason schedule and right now we’re going through some growing pains on the back four or five. I like our team. I like their hustle. I like their effort. But all of this was to get ready for districts and districts start Friday.”
Heritage Hall dictated the pace from the start, attacking the inexperienced Pioneer defense with its speed and ball control. Even so, Stillwater (1-2) managed to stick with the Chargers until Heritage Hall’s Will Snoddy ripped a shot into the back of the net with 25 seconds left in the first half to give the Chargers a 1-0 lead.
“You can never give up a goal like that with 25 seconds left in the half,” Condley said. “I still don’t know what happened. I know our guy took too many touches and the guy got a poke on it. Our center backs were out of position and thinking we we’re going to have the ball. Then we didn’t have it in transition.”
The Chargers added some insurance when Austin Gordon scored on a breakaway eight minutes into the second half before he added another goal with 24:18 left to put Heritage Hall up 3-0.
Stillwater didn’t panic, as Matt Millis got the Pioneers on the board less than a minute later, closing the gap to 3-1
“It was definitely a turning point for us,” Millis said. “I felt like our whole team just got set on fire with not just that play, but throughout the second half.”
But after another goal by Gordon it seemed time was running out on the Pioneers.
“It was hard to transition every time and working together as a team,” Millis said. “We had a little trouble with that in the first half, but we were able to work through our problems. We started talking more and worked together. It just wasn’t enough in the end.”
Ian Fladie’s goal at 12:46 left helped give the Pioneers some life, but in the end it was too little, too late.
“This team never quits,” Condley said. “I’m proud of them for that. They have good chemisty. They never quit on anything and they haven’t in four years. They’re going to keep fighting. We just didn’t get it done.”
Both Stillwater squads will begin district play Friday against Moore at Pioneer Stadium.
“We’re ready to come out, play hard and win,” Millis said of the pressure that comes with taking a two-game losing streak into district play. “We want to play like the team we know we are and continue a winning season.”