April 23, 2014

Goble asks players to maintain focus

Adam Troxtell, Sports Editor,
The Express-Star


Few would blame the Chickasha girls soccer team for treating last Friday's game as a season-defining moment.

So highly rated is Bridge Creek that their undefeated record heading into their clash with the Lady Chicks suggested they just might run away with the district title. Not only did Chickasha (7-1, 4-0) take that top spot away from them, but they also put themselves in the drivers' seat to win district heading into the postseason.

With just one game remaining after Tuesday's trip to Ada, head coach Bethany Goble is working to make sure the team keeps both feet on the ground.

"Now we do have a target on our backs," Goble said. "I tell my girls we go game-by-game. This is game five [against Ada], and it doesn't matter who it is against."

Elgin could still prove a tough test for Chickasha. The Lady Owls are 3-1 in district, their only loss so far coming in overtime against Ada. Elgin won third at the Chickasha Invitational in a 1-0 victory against Guymon on March 29.

But to be in this position at this juncture of the season is already an accomplishment for Chickasha, who entered the season without their two top goal scorer's from last season. The slack has been picked up in stride by the likes of leading goal scorer sophomore Taylor Lessig, speedy winger junior Tara Arnold, the raw energy of first year player Shorty Clift, and sophomore central figure Katie Hinch.

A mix of speed and precision passing lead the line forward, and it's all backed up by an experienced middle. Senior Amanda Black is tasked with holding the midfield line, while fellow senior Alyssa Willetts serves as the linch pin, pinging passes from one side to another.

Everyone moves up, everyone moves back, and right now Goble has the system working as a well-oiled machine.

"I feel like we have different sources of attack," Goble said. "But on Friday, we just slowly progressed into their half of the field. It came down to competing, and that's been the message this season. At no point did I think we were going to lose that game."

After a 3-0 demolition of Cache, the win at Bridge Creek makes it four in a row for the Lady Chicks. Goble said she wants to keep the reigns tight, but at the same time admits a Chickasha team on this kind of form has a chance to go better than their second round state playoff appearance in 2013.

"I don't want them to get too cocky, but if we come out like we did on Friday and keep progressing, than there's no reason we can't do what we did last year," Goble said. "Any team can surprise us if we don't come out and work hard."