The tears rolling down the cheeks of Claremore junior midfielder Anna McGuire were ‘heart-breaking’ and ‘painful’.
McGuire’s penalty kick — her first attempt of the season — sailed wide right and left the Class 5A No. 3 Lady Zebras with an emotional 2-1 loss to the Booker T. Washington Lady Hornets in the regional finals Friday night at S.E. Williams Stadium.
The loss ended Claremore’s magical season with a 12-4 overall record — the best in school history under head coach Robin Sutherland.
After both teams battled to a 1-1 deficit at the end of regulation and then played two scoreless overtimes, the game was decided on penalty kicks.
Booker T. Washington edged Claremore, 3-2 as Valerie Nierenberg, Natalie Mulkey and Jessica Bollinger punched in their penalty kicks. Claremore’s two came from Bailey Bacon and Katelin Teter.
Once the game ended, Claremore freshman goalkeeper Brylee Brasher immediately consoled McGuire with an uplifting ‘hug’ of encouragement.
Claremore’s opening start got off to a bang as senior forward Cailin Caldwell scampered past the Booker T. Washington defense and sent a shot toward the left side of the net that resulted in a goal to put the Lady Zebras up 1-0 with 35 minutes left in the first half.
Caldwell’s goal provided Claremore with the momentum heading into the second half and hopes of reaching the 5A State Semifinals for the first time in school history.
Booker T. Washington, however, raised its level of intensity after halftime and evened the score at 1-1 on Megan Pierce’s shot in the 66th minute that got past the grasp of Claremore goalkeeper (Brylee) Brasher.
The victory for the Lady Hornets improved their season record to 11-4 and advanced them to the 5A state semifinals against Carl Albert.