By Mike Moguin
GTR Sports Writer
Booker T. Washington repeated as girls state soccer champions by exploding for five second half goals in a 5-3 win over Bishop Kelley in the Class 5A title game on May 10 at the University of Tulsa soccer field.
Carrington Bridges led Booker T. with two goals and Zoe Athens, Ashton Gordon and Grace Petit each had one.
When the Lady Hornets (13-4) won state last year, all it needed was one goal for a 1-0 win against Cascia Hall. But, this year was different as they had to overcome a halftime deficit. Kelley, the 2017 champion, scored first on a goal by Bella Lusk with 18:11 left in the first half.
“We knew we had to come back. There was no question,” Athens said. “We were either going to win this and be happy or we’re going to lose and be upset. And we weren’t going to be upset.”
“Kassie (Embrey), our head coach, was giving us directions,” Bridges said. “We really took it to heart because we wanted it so bad.”
Just over half a minute into the second half, Athens, a senior defender/midfielder kicked the ball from three yards into the net for the tying goal.
“It was an adrenaline rush,” Athens said. “Being here for a second time was a huge deal and we knew we had to capitalize. We got the first goal at 30 seconds into the second half. I just got lucky and hit one and that started the momentum of the second half and we just capitalized.
“That was a good adrenaline rush, but, I’m not going to take all the credit for it,” Athens said. “We all had more shots and we had four more goals after that and we just had a good strong second half.”
Bridges scored the first of her two goals for the go-ahead score with 27:24 left as she took advantage of the Kelley goalkeeper struggling with the ball.
“At halftime, (Coach) Kassie (Embrey) was telling us that the goalie was not catching it very much, she’s batting it. ‘So, you got to follow those shots and run your heart out and get to the end of it. You have to be there to put some emphasis on it,’” said Bridges, quotng her coach. “I can’t remember who, but, (senior forward Lauren Cousins) made a great shot and the keeper battled it, and I heard Kassie in the back of the head – ‘Just finish it. Be there! Be there.’”
Ashton Gordon added the next goal scoring on a free kick, increasing the BTW advantage to 3-1.
“That is something I practiced over and over again and I train for moments like that,” Gordon said. “So, I had the game in my hands at that moment. It was really important that I took care of my part in the game.”
Kelley drew to within 3-2 with 18:50 left on a goal from senior midfielder Chloe Tregoning. Four minutes later, Bridges added another score.
“(Junior midfielder Natalie Walker) played the ball in and I saw it bouncing. I saw the keeper running toward me and I deflected it right over her into the back of the net,” Bridges said.
That made the score 4-2. Another exchange of goals occurred in the final minute with Petit, a junior midfielder, scoring for the Lady Hornets with 11.1 seconds left.
The celebration ensued once the last second ticked off.
“Honestly, I’m just speechless,” Bridges said. “We played our hearts out. First half was a little slow, but we came as hard as we could and honestly came back and played one of our best games in the second half for sure.”
“It’s a really gold moment,” said Gordon, headed for Arkansas. “It’s really rewarding. It’s awesome to do it for my teammates, my coaches, my family and friends, and for the school. It feels so good personally, it’s a good way to end my career.”
“It’s amazing,” said Athens, bound for NOC-Tonkawa. “Last year we won it for the first time ever and this year, we won it back-to-back for the first time ever. It’s really a good deal. It’s good to be a Hornet.”
Athens hopes future BTW teams can draw from the back-to-back state championship teams.
“It just sets a huge example and I hope this soccer team gets bigger and we continue to win more and more,” she said.
BTW Track & Field Champion
Another Booker T. Washington athlete became a state champion in the 400-meter run on May 11 at the Class 6A track and field meet in Moore. Freshman Gentry Williams raced to a first-place finish with a time of 47.70.