Tahlequah takes down Zebras in 5A-4 opener; Lady Tigers fall short

Byron Beers | Daily Press

Tahlequah junior forward Kaili Crawford tries to get control Tuesday against Claremore at Doc Wadley Stadium in Tahlequah.

Christian Najar scored a pair of goals and helped lift Tahlequah to a 5-1 win over Claremore in its District 5A-4 opener Tuesday at Doc Wadley Stadium.

Najar was one of four Tigers to score a goal. They also received goals from Zack Marzullo, Zeke Guerrero and Hunter Smith, while Alberto Aboytes finished with two assists. Tabor Robinson and Angel Quezada each had one assist.

Tahlequah won for the fourth time in its last five matches and improved to 5-2 overall under head coach Greg Hall.

The Tigers had 12 shots on goal and limited the Zebras to five. Goalkeeper Bodee Jimerson recorded four saves.

"Everybody contributed tonight," Hall said. "The starters set the tone, and the guys who came in, came in and just continued where the starters left off. There's some areas we really need to clean up, and we're going back to the training grounds tomorrow."

Guerrero scored the first goal less than three minutes into the match, and Najar put Tahlequah up 2-0 on an Aboytes assist at the 32:47 mark of the first half. Smith gave THS a 3-0 lead after scoring off a Robinson assist with 12:12 remaining in the first half.

Marzullo extended Tahlequah's lead to 4-0 at the 36:04 point of the second half on an assist from Quezada, and Najar added his second goal and Aboytes' second assist with 13:18 remaining.

"It was a total team effort and a good start to the district schedule," Hall said. "There's a lot of stuff we still need to work on but I'll take a win every time."

Tahlequah will be on the road twice next week when it visits Tulsa Will Rogers (Tuesday) and Pryor (Friday).

"I'm looking forward to it," Hall said. "We still have some very good competition ahead of us. Tuesday is a big game, a big test for us. I'm happy we got past our first hurdle and we're just going to get ready for our next one."

Lady Tigers drop district opener: Tahlequah dropped its second consecutive match and its District 5A-4 opener Tuesday in a 1-0 setback to Claremore at Doc Wadley Stadium.

The Lady Zebras scored the lone goal in the first half and limited the Lady Tigers to three shots on goal. Claremore held a 56.8 percent to 43.2 percent time of possession advantage.

Tahlequah fell to 4-3 overall under first-year head coach Stacie Grooms.

The Lady Tigers will resume play Tuesday, April 6 at Tulsa Will Rogers. They will remain on the road Friday, April 9 when they take on Pryor.

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