The Edmond Sun

Sports

May 19, 2014

Deer Creek girls top Carl Albert for third straight state title

Lady Antlers overcome first-half deficit for 4-1 win

NORMAN — The Deer Creek girls soccer team knows how to get to the Class 5A state championship. And, they know how to win it.

The Lady Antlers overcame a first-half deficit against Carl Albert Saturday evening to win their third straight 5A state tittle. After a scoreless first half, Deer Creek put four goals on the board in the second for the 4-1 victory at the University of Oklahoma’s John Crain Field.

“Winning the state championship has been our goal from day one,” Lady Antler Mikayla Lowery said. “We’ve been down 1-0 twice in playoff games and came back and won. We know how to come together as a team and work for the goals.”

The victory marked Deer Creek’s fifth overall state title and fourth since 2009. They beat Carl Albert in the finals the past three years and in 2009. The Lady Antlers won the 4A state title in 1995.

“This is really special because we have the biggest X on our backs. Every team is after us,” coach Melissa Thompson said. “And, they (Carl Albert) really have a vendetta against us because those last four have all come against them.”

The Lady Titans grabbed the momentum early in the match. They kept the ball on Deer Creek’s side for much of the first half and struck first in the 11th minute. Brooklyn Speis backed the ball deep inside the goal box and passed it to Lexi Blackwell, who scored from about 30 yards out.

Deer Creek had a couple of chances to tie the game late in the first half, but Carl Albert goalkeeper Ashyln Hanlon kept them off the board.

The momentum made dramatic shift in the second half. The Lady Antlers offense came alive with four goals.

Deer Creek’s Madi May put her team on the board with 30:47 showing on the clock. She took a pass from Lowery down the right side of the field, tying the game 1-1.

Lowery later pushed Deer Creek in front with her first goal of the night. Lowery received a pass from Mackenzie Coupens on the right side and the senior drilled it into the net for a 2-1 lead with 27:10 left in the game.

“We just needed to settle down and play our possession game,” Thompson said. “And we brought more players forward with the 4-3-3 formation. That change of attack caught Carl Albert off guard and we were able to score those two goals.”

The Antlers added two scores late in the game. Rachel Mullen scored off a deflection with 10:47 left. Lowery added the final score. She sent a slow roller past Hanlon with 9:50 left in the game. Taylor Gross assisted on the final score.

“This game is so back-and-forth so we knew we had to keep going,” Lowery said. “Even when we were up 4-1, we were still working for five and six.”

Following the game, the team said good-bye to seniors Hayley Weaver, Han Hoang and Lowery, who played their final game in a Deer Creek uniform.

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