By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
A 6-0 loss might not look like something the Stillwater High School girls soccer team would want to hang its hat on, but when that 6-0 loss comes at the hands of state powerhouse Jenks — a team loaded with Division I talent — Stillwater coach John Fields had every reason to smile.
“We look at Jenks and see a team that’s just super talented and super fast, but we prepared really hard,” Fields said. “The formation we ran was specially designed for them. We tried to compress the field in the first half and it worked really well for us. ... They had multiple shots on goal but our defense held really well and Alyssa (Bullock) was just golden in the box.”
Texas A&M signee Lizzie Keester scored three goals — two within a four minute span in the second half — as Jenks handed Stillwater (5-3, 0-2 in district) its second straight district loss Tuesday at Pioneer Stadium.
“Just from what I’ve heard, we knew that they were a really tough team,” Stillwater sophomore Natalie Speer said. “I just feel like we really played well defensively and that we held them compared to some of the other teams.”
The Lady Pioneers utilized every trick in the book, even breaking out their own variation of a box-and-one — where all but one player filled the box.
And for a while, it worked.
“If we gave something up, we wanted to try to get something back,” Fields said. “We knew we had to look for a formation that fits our personnel and try to keep them from scoring but also gives us an opportunity to score. That’s what we did.
“It was a little bit of an odd formation. You probably won’t see anybody else do that, but our girls ran it to perfection in the first half. I think the score showed that. Very few teams are able to hold Jenks to 2-0 at halftime.”
After keeping the Lady Trojans scoreless through the first 27 minutes of the game Keester finally got Jenks on the board with a breakaway goal.
“You get kind of excited when you know that you’re doing really good,” Speer said. “Then you kind of get this rush when they’re (attacking). We all worked really hard together, and I feel like we did really well teamwork-wise. It was just kind of a good feeling knowing that you worked really well together.”
Jenks added another goal on a controversial call when it appeared that Kendall Gordon made a goalline save, but the sideline referee had ruled that the ball had crossed the line with 3:59 left in the first half, giving the Lady Trojans a 2-0 lead at halftime.
“Out of the six goals, there were some that I simply didn’t see,” Fields said. “Obviously, they probably had a better angle than I did, but even gentlemen can disagree on whether some of those were goals or not.”
Stillwater’s defense continued to set the tone for the game at the start of the second half before Keester scored her second goal with 21:02 remaining. She then used her speed to break free for another goal, putting Jenks up 4-0 with 17:16 left.
The Lady Pioneers continued to fight, but they eventually ran out of steam as Jenks tacked on two more goals in the final five minutes.
“We were definitely tired,” Speer said. “We worked really hard and they had some lucky shots. Everybody was working really hard and focusing well. We just got tired in those last three minutes.”
In total Jenks took 19 shots, 13 of those on goal. And while Bullock took the loss probably the hardest out of anyone, Fields said Bullock’s performance kept it from being a 10-0 game.
“When you have a really good goalie like Alyssa, they take every goal to heart,” Fields said. “Goalies tend to dwell on the number of goals allowed and they don’t look at the number of goals they kept out. ... We’re very high on Alyssa and what she does for us. For me, she was just golden. I know she takes it all to heart, she’s a real competitor and she hates to lose, but she did an outstanding job against a very good offensive team.”