The Pacers rode a quick start in the first half to a 2-1 win at Stillwater on Friday night.
Enid had the wind at their backs in the first half, which the Pacers used to their advantage with two goals before the break. Freshman midfielder Tabitha Miller got the Pacers on the board in the first half.
The goal wasn’t the best shot Miller has ever taken according to Enid head coach Craig Liddell but it caught the goalie off guard and looped it over the keepers head. Regardless, Liddell was happy that his freshman took the chance.
“If you never take ‘em, you don’t score.” Liddell said.
Liddell said he thought his team was really starting find their rhythm after Miller scored her first goal. Specifically, he was happy with the team’s passing which is something he’s been working on with his team on since last week’s loss at the Stillwater Cup.
Junior midfielder Mia Yerian has been coming on strong lately, in large part due to her ability to find teammates off of corner kicks. Friday was no different and this time it was junior defender Anne Le who was the recipient off of what Liddell called a “beautiful cross”.
The Pacers had confidence going into halftime but they knew they had their work cut out for them going into the wind in the second half. The Lady Pioneers got their first goal around the 55th minute.
Liddell said that he was proud of the team’s fight in the second half with Stillwater looking for every opportunity they had to score.
“We had to keep scrapping and fighting and the whole team battled,” Liddell said, “The defense played very well. (Hanna) Brinley was good in goal, the backs in front of her were excellent and the whole team was scrapping so I’m very, very proud of the girls’ effort.”
The Plainsmen went into their first district game of the season on Friday night hoping to avenge their loss in penalty kicks to Stillwater last week in the Stillwater Cup.
Enid fell 1-0 on Friday after being unable to connect on some key shots that may have broken the tie. While Liddell said that last week the team was passing the ball well and not taking enough chances at goal, this week he felt the passing may not have been as crisp, but he was happy with the shots they took.
“We had multiple chances,” Liddell said, “We played well. We scrapped and battled and connected on some nice stuff, maybe not vintage like we’ve been at times this season but still good.”
The Pioneers scored the only goal of the game in the first half and Liddell said that if not for some spectacular goal keeping by Stillwater’s goalie, the outcome may have been flipped.
“Their keeper made three or four really good saves,” Liddell said, “We hit the cross bar, we hit the post, we just never hit the net.”
The loss is a tough one for the Plainsmen who were still frustrated going into the game after losing their first game of the season. Liddell said that the team isn’t happy with how they played, but that he doesn’t think his team will let it bring them down too much after a solid start to the season.
Liddell said his message to his team was simple.
“It’s pretty simple for me,” Liddell said, “we say ‘One, we stick together, Two, we keep believing in our style and who we are’. Our boys know we controlled so much in those games. And that’s with all respect to Stillwater, because Stillwater is good.”
The Plainsmen have a relatively quick turnaround before their next match against a Jenks squad that’s No. 1 in Class 6A -4 with a 3-1 record on Tuesday.
Liddell called the Trojans ‘a powerhouse’.
Enid will play Jenks on the road with the girls game starting at 6 p.m. and the boys following that at 8 p.m.