By CEDRIQUE FLEMMING
The Tahlequah girls dropped a 1-0 decision to Class 5A No. 6 Booker T. Washington Tuesday night at Doc Wadley Stadium on Northeastern State University’s campus.
The Lady Hornets received a goal in the 32nd minute from Natalie Mulkey, and the Lady Tigers were unable to equalize in the narrow loss.
“We just slacked off defensively on the goal and allowed the girl to turn,” Tahlequah coach Greg Hall said. “We didn’t step to her and she had a clear open shot. Our goalkeeper didn’t have a chance.”
Booker T. outshot Tahlequah 10-1 and controlled possession for the majority of the contest. The Lady Hornets (4-4, 1-0 District 5A-3) also attempted four corner kicks, while the home side was unable to find a dangerous set piece.
“We lost to this team 8-1 last year, so overall I’m pleased with how we played. We just weren’t able to come away with a win tonight,” said Hall, whose team dropped its third straight match and fell to 4-4 overall and 0-1 in league play.
Game-time temperature was 37 degrees, and both teams battled through a brisk cold and a consistent rain throughout the night.
“I don’t think the conditions were a factor,” Hall said. “Both teams had to deal with the rain, and we’ve played in worse.”
The play that led to the goal began with a turnover near midfield in the 32nd minute. The ball was carried up the left wing, and a long cross into the box was collected by Blair Ferguson.
Ferguson was shielding a defender with her back to goal when she received the cross. She was able to drop the ball off to a wide-open Mulkey, and her shot found the back of the net for the game’s lone marker.
Tahlequah struggled to get the ball inside Booker T.’s penalty area the entire game, and the home side did not attempt a shot in the second half.
BTW 6, Tahlequah (boys) 3
A hat trick from Saul Medina proved all for naught as a flurry of goals late helped Booker T. Washington seal a 6-3 victory over the Tahlequah boy’s soccer team.
The Tigers took a 3-2 lead in the first minute of the second half, but a four-goal rally in the game’s final 15 minutes powered the 5A No. 7 Hornets to the come-from-behind win.
“We were very competitive tonight. We were able to put a lot of pressure on them in the back end,” Tahlequah coach Gary McClure said. “We worked the ball well at times, and we were able to play defense well at times.”
Booker T. opened the scoring in the second minute, when Backr Rahhal found the back of the net. Medina quickly equalized in the fifth minute, and the two squads played two a 1-1 draw for the next 24 minutes.
BTW’s Keegan King lined up for a free kick in the 29th minute, and he took a shot that sailed wide. Unfortunately for the home side, the shot deflected off the head of defender George Bullard and went past the goalkeeper for an own goal. It took Medina just two minutes to knot the game at 2-2, however, and that would be the score line at intermission.
Medina completed his hat trick and gave the 11th-ranked Tigers (3-4, 0-1) a 3-2 advantage just 33 seconds into the second half, but the Hornets (3-2, 1-0) would dominate the remainder of the contest.
King scored goals in the 65th and 67th minutes to put Booker T. on top, and the visitors received insurance markers in the 71st and 80th minutes from Andrew Eaton-Clark and Dakota Hardman, respectively.
“We have a couple of things that we need to fix, but they are all fixable things,” McClure said. “I thought this was a positive night overall, and we were able to give the defending district champions a run for their money. We have the potential to be one of the top two teams in the district the rest of the way.”
Booker T. Washington outshot Tahlequah 23-7, and the visiting side attempted each of the game’s final nine shots. BTW also recorded a narrow 3-2 edge in corner kicks.
Both Tahlequah teams will be back at home Friday against Pryor.