Fresh off a stunning last-second victory over Noble, another late breakthrough appeared inevitable for Ardmore Friday night at Noble Stadium.

Fresh off a stunning last-second victory over Noble, another late breakthrough appeared inevitable for Ardmore Friday night at Noble Stadium.

For 80 minutes, the Tigers had Lawton on the ropes. Juan Lopez, Ricardo Soto, Victor Gomez Gustavo Iteriano and Robby Musgrove set up shop in the Wolverine’s defensive third, flooding Lawton with wave after wave of shots on goal, through balls, and crosses.

But as regulation ended – with the Wolverines clearing Ardmore’s final attack safely to midfield –  Lawton remained unscathed, setting up a penalty kick shootout to decide the contest.

After nine kicks, five goals and Lawton’s third goalkeeping change of the night, it was freshman versus third-string keeper to decide the game. The netminder guessed right, absorbing Xavier Russell’s shot to send Ardmore from Noble Stadium with a sour a 0-0 (2-3) loss.

Ardmore coach Ryan Keeton couldn’t complain about his young squad’s effort against Lawton, a 6A opponent.

“The ball just didn’t go in the back of the net this time,” he said. 

“We had the majority of the possession and we had opportunities. I’m proud of the guys. We came out, played physical and never gave up. The effort was there. Sometimes it goes your way, sometimes it doesn’t.”

Ardmore set the tone, pushing the ball forward and attacking the middle of Lawton’s backline with a frantic pace. While Lawton’s counter-attacks rarely drew Ardmore keeper Juna Cardamone to action.

In the 21st minute, Ardmore forward Juan Lopez broke free with a one-on-one against Lawton’s keeper. The shot was blocked, but the save left Lawton’s goalkeeper hobbled, and the Wolverines shuffled Josh Bales from midfield to the net.

While facing a fresh keeper, Victor Gomez’s screamer off the crossbar would be as close as the Tigers would come to scoring in the first half.

To start the second half, Lopez was given a breather as Musgrove checked into the game. Musgrove’s speed on the wing stretched the Wolverine’s backline as the freshman attacked wide, setting up four corner kicks and several throw-ins to the box down the stretch.

“We noticed if our outside midfielders went wide, it was there,” Keeton said. “We were trying to play too much through the middle in the first half, but in the second we started linking up well outside. We created opportunity after opportunity, but we just couldn’t break through tonight.”

In the shootout, Lawton struck first taking a 1-0 lead. 

But consecutive saves by Juna Cardamone and two converted penalty kicks from Musgrove and Lopez put the Tigers back on the cusp of a well-deserved win, with momentum in spades.

But the Wolverines tied things up at 2-2, and after Ricardo Soto’s penalty kick blasted into Lawton goalkeeper Josh Bales’ mits, Ardmore’s momentum ground to a halt.

The impact of Soto’s strike forced Bales to get his hand checked out by a trainer as Juna paced from goal post to goal post, awaiting Bales kick. 

Eventually, the Lawton keeper returned, drilling his penalty kick past Yuna’s outstretched gloves to give the Wolverines a 3-2 lead in penalties.

Keeton said the experience of this game will pay dividends down the road.

“It’s a learning experience,” he said. “This won’t be our last PK. I promise when our kids get the opportunity again, they’ll rise to the occasion.”

“This is a 6A school,” Keaton added. 

“We want to play good competition and learn from it to get ready for districts. We’ve got five or six freshmen playing and we’ve got a lot of good things to come.”

Ardmore (1-1) will face Durant (2-1) Tuesday night on the road.


Lawton 1
Ardmore 0

After rebounding from a lopsided loss with a 9-0 win, the roller-coaster start for the Lady Tigers hit a steady patch of grit Friday against Lawton.

With the counterattack struggling to find sure footing past midfield, Ardmore fought off constant pressure in the defensive third as keeper Madalyne Alvarez and the Lady Tigers stubbornly parried an onslaught of Lawton attacks, keeping an unblemished scoresheet into the final minutes.

Ardmore’s plucky defense doused flame after flame in their own box, with Ardmore’s Kelly Rivera-Velasco and Maylin Silva snuffing out Lawton’s runs toward the goal. 

But it was a seemingly harmless floater from 35 yards out that eventually slipped through, dangling in the wind before diving into the net in the 76th minute to give Lawton a 1-0 win at Noble Stadium.

“With the wind and how it was hit, It was just a hard ball to judge,” Ardmore coach David Massuere said. “Maddie kept us in it all game and made a lot of tough saves. She is a stud. She’s just fearless. I love having her back there.”

Massuere added there’s a lot to be taken from the Lady Tigers’ tough non-district test with Class 6A Lawton (1-2). 

“It stings to lose a nail biter like that, but once the girls cool down and the sweat rests I think this gives us confidence,” he said. 

“We stood toe to toe with them. I think the girls will come back realizing that was a 6A school that we could’ve beat. We could have capitalized better and played a little smarter near the end, but I’m proud of this performance.”

Though Lawton took the possession battle, Ardmore was able to hold the ball and work it down the field consistently in the first half.

But mounting midfield pressure from the Lady Wolverines frustrated the Lady Tigers, and as the game wore on in the second half and with limited looks at goal, the Lady Tigers began launching long balls to set up the attack.

Following her six-goal scoring bonanza against Millwood, Lawton’s backline kept a very close eye on the Ardmore forward Ashley Monterrosa, making a point to blitz and muscle her off the ball at every opportunity.

Midway through the second, Monterrosa had her best look at goal, whipping a free kick from 25 yards out on a rope before it clanking off the crossbar.

While his team controlled the ball and linked up early, Massuere said fatigue and frustration took the team out of their game in the second half.

“When we get frustrated and start sending it up, we don’t play the quality soccer we’re capable of,” he said. 

“We’re built from the back, I have a lot of seasoned players back there who set us up and get us playing our style of soccer. But when we’re just banging it, relying on Monterrosa to go do her thing — which she is really good at —  we have a hard time. Against a big and physical backline like Lawton’s, we’re going to have a hard time with 50-50s.”

In the final minutes, Ardmore mounted a pair of promising attacks, leading to a corner and a throw-in deep in Lady Wolverine territory. With just seconds on the clock, Ardmore managed to put a shot on goal, but the ball rolled directly to Lawton’s keeper as time expired.

The Lady Tigers (1-2) will face the Durant Lady Lions Tuesday on the road.