The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK


March 11, 2014

Enid blows away Woodward in soccer

ENID, Okla. — Sophie Holle curled in a left-footed shot into the top-left corner to tally the first goal of a Tuesday evening that turned quickly from bright to blustery, and neither Enid team slowed much after that. Holle added another goal in a 3-0 girls win and Pedro Braga boosted the 14th-ranked Plainsmen to a 4-0 nightcap victory with two goals and an assist in the best game of his short run as a regular starter.

Despite winning by the smaller margin, the Pacers were the more dominant of Enid’s teams on Tuesday, the teams’ homecoming and Military Appreciation Night. Enid kept almost complete control of possession against a Woodward team that shut out the Pacers last season.

Enid outshot Woodward 13-1 on target and 27-2 overall, rarely allowing the Lady Boomers past midfield. Holle’s left-footer put the Pacers ahead at the 18:26 mark of the first half, but the goal followed a half-dozen chances to score that preceded it, the most dangerous on an Abigail Resendiz shot from just outside six yards off a Sarah Blakely free kick.

The Pacers had two more chances in one 30-second span before Holle’s score, Resendiz shooting over the crossbar from 20 yards after a shot from midfielder Brieanna Glaze skittered wide of the right post.

“To control the game as well as we did, and to have so many opportunities, we could have had about four or five goals,” said Enid boys and girls head coach Craig Liddell. “That’s the way the game goes sometimes, but if we hadn’t been making the chances, I would have been concerned. That will come.”

Jillian Nicholas nullified the misses 30 minutes in, spinning off a defender to her right and playing Holle through for a shot that banked in off the right post. Maybel Garcia lofted a floating shot from the top right corner of the 18-yard box less than two minutes later to put the Pacers ahead 3-0, a lead that wasn’t challenged in the second half.

Braga broke a 26-minute stalemate to start the boys’ game with a wild shot from close to 40 yards out. The shot seemed headed over the crossbar but had enough backspin to drop just inside it, putting the Plainsmen up 1-0.

Gutirrez scored on a drop-off pass by midfielder Antoni Camarena to put Enid up 2-0 early in the second half, and that score held until a decisive two-and-a-half-minute barrage that started with 24:55 left. Braga played a streaking Gutierrez just offsides with a pass that would have put the senior striker behind Woodward’s back line, but came an instant late. Braga made up for it on the Plainsmen’s next possession, weaving through Woodward’s defense to the left post, setting up Gutierrez for a point-blank goal with a low cross. Braga all but sealed the game with 22:34 left, scoring on a low shot from the right post to the bottom left corner to put the Plainsmen up 4-0.

The game was the second strong outing for the sophomore in his first season as a key piece in Enid’s offense. Braga had a goal and four assists in varsity play as a freshman; the midfielder has 3 goals and an assists in two games this season.

“Without sounding cocky about it, it’s kind of what I thought would happen,” Liddell said on Braga’s start. “There’s a team around him where everyone wants the ball, and that allows him to do his thing as well, and it makes it work. He’s classy about it, he’s a humble kid.”

“I never thought it’d be like this, honestly,” Braga said. “My teammates, they’re the ones who really gave me the confidence. I wouldn’t be as good without my team giving me the courage and confidence to go up and be a big player.”

The Pacers and Plainsmen, now both 2-0, visit Midwest City on Thursday. The Bomber boys are 0-2 in 2014. Midwest City’s girls open their season versus Enid.

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