Class 6A girls soccer: Norman North survives red card to top Mustang in state championship
Norman North had been here before.
Yes, to the Class 6A girls soccer state championship, but also a player down. So, when the Timberwolves were reduced to 10 players in their 2-0 title win against Mustang on Saturday at Taft Stadium, they kept their cool.
Norman North had to brave 23 minutes of shorthanded survival against Mustang after defender Elle Abbey was sent off for a red card. At the end, the Timberwolves could finally exhale.
Norman North junior defender Jamie McGinnis did so in the aftermath.
"It was stressful," a relieved McGinnis said, gold medal around her neck.
The title, Norman North’s first girls soccer state championship since 2014, was won with a mature performance. Nine of Norman North’s starting 11 are seniors, many who suffered through the 2017 state championship loss to Union.
"I was confident in the girls," Norman North coach Trevor Laffoon said. "We have a lot of seniors and a lot of players who’ve played a lot of important minutes. It shows."
McGinnis scored a header in the 26th minute and senior forward Jenna Miller scored and assisted on McGinnis's goal.
Miller’s breakaway goal via a defense-splitting pass from Katie Fowler in the 71st minute didn’t come before the ultimate test.
In the 57th minute, Abbey collided with Mustang midfielder Ellise Foreman while chasing a loose ball. Foreman stayed face down for several minutes, and Abbey was initially issued a yellow card which required Norman North to substitute.
After a brief delay in which Abbey went to the sideline, the head official consulted with an assistant referee, then ran over to the Norman North bench and docked Abbey with the red card.
Once Norman North was reduced to 10 players, Mustang’s offense began to apply more pressure. Mustang, which beat Norman North for the district title this season, outshot Norman North 6-2 in the second half.
"(Laffoon) just said to play for each other on the field," Miller said. "Because people left on the field left everything out there and couldn’t give anything more."
Norman North’s defense was up to the challenge. It was a familiar scenario for the Timberwolves, who had to squeeze out a win against rival Norman earlier in the season down a player due to a red card.
"We’ve done it before," McGinnis said. "We still composed the ball very well. We all know that we wanted it, so we all worked hard. Her going out made us work even harder."