Claremore Daily Progress

April 30, 2013

Top-ranked Lady Cards begin quest toward 4th-straight 4A state title

Tim Ritter
Sports Editor

VERDIGRIS — When it comes to the girls soccer playoffs, the Verdigris Lady Cardinals don’t settle for second-best.

The past three seasons, the Lady Cardinals have controlled their own destiny and finished as the best Class 4A team in the state.

Under the leadership of veteran head coach Stacy Risenhoover, Verdigris has exploded into a girls soccer powerhouse.

The emergence of junior forward Caitlyn Hanslovan the past three seasons as well as a potent defense — headlined by midfielder Taylor Beck and sweeper Aubrey Lindsey — has catapulted Verdigris in a strong contender year in and year out for the Class 4A state championship.

A year ago, Hanslovan dominated the 4A state championship game against Bethany, scoring four goals to earn MVP honors and secure the Lady Cards’ third-straight title.

After following the path set several years ago by current Tulsa soccer standout Emily Hahn — who led the Lady Cardinals to back-to-back 4A state championships in 2010 and 2011 — Hanslovan turned into a scoring machine for Verdigris.

The ‘speedy’ and ‘aggressive’ Hanslovan anchors the Verdigris offense alongside senior forward Shelby Anderson and senior midfielder Stacia Payne.

Today, Hanslovan and the Lady Cards’ explosive offense will square off against Stilwell at 5 p.m. in the opening round of the Class 4A soccer playoffs at Verdigris High School Stadium.

The winner of the Verdigris-Stilwell game will battle the winner of Claremore Sequoyah-Mannford on Friday in the Class 4A state quarterfinals.

The Class 4A state championship game will be played at 6 p.m. on May 11 at the University of Tulsa.