Winning state championships never gets old for the Verdigris Lady Cardinals soccer program.
On Saturday, the No. 1-ranked Lady Cardinals clinched their third consecutive Class 4A State Championship with a 3-0 win over No. 2 Fort Gibson at the University of Tulsa Soccer/Track Complex.
The first two state championships — in 2009 and 2010 — were vacated by the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Athletic Association.
According to Verdigris head coach Stacy Risenhoover in the Tulsa World, “This never gets old. It’s always a new group of girls and you never know what to expect, but this team has worked hard all season and has always had great character.”
Verdigris needed a late first-half goal by junior forward Caitlyn Hanslovan to swing the momentum into its favor with a 1-0 lead at halftime. Hanslovan followed up the assist inside the penalty box from junior forward Taylor Beck and the shot caromed off the left post into the net.
Hanslovan, who tallied all four goals in the Lady Cards’ 4-0 win over Bethany during the 2012 State Finals, pieced together another strong performance in the second half.
The Lady Cards extended the margin to 2-0 shortly after halftime as Beck’s 35-yard free kick soared over the reach of Fort Gibson goalkeeper Kyndra Johnson and into the back of the net.
Then, with 18:23 remaining in the game, Hanslovan’s second goal — a 45-yard shot — caught the wind and sailed through the net as Verdigris drove the nail into the coffin and completed its state championship journey.
The Lady Cardinals’ seniors — Shelby Anderson, Stacia Payne and Camry Collins — have compiled a 57-11 overall record over the past four seasons.
Verdigris capped off the 2013 season with a 13-3 overall record.