Apr. 10—The Enid Plainsmen were able to ride the momentum from a big win earlier in the week at No. 1 Jenks, defeating Muskogee 5-0 on Friday night.
Muskogee (1-5) came into the game ready to push the Plainsmen to their limit. Enid head coach Craig Liddell said he felt the final was much closer than the score indicated and described the game as "scrappy."
The strong winds that both teams were playing through, also added to the scrappiness.
"The wind was just ridiculous," Liddell said, "30-plus mph, gusts up to 52 I think at some point. It just makes it hard to play good soccer but we told our kids 'No excuses, let's find solutions."
Liddell said he was surprised with Muskogee's play on Friday. After beating them comfortably in their last couple meetings, Liddell said he felt like their opponent came to Enid expecting to win.
"Their coaches have done a great job with them," Liddell said, "They're usually athletic and have some talent, but usually we can kind of pick them apart with our shape and our discipline, but tonight they were tough."
Junior forward Geovany Lupercio was the first to get Enid on the board in the 10th minute. Lupercio received a pass from Miguel Chavez at the top of the box and delivered what Liddell called "A 25-yard rocket to the upper 90, an absolutely beautiful goal."
"Honestly I think the confidence is there," Liddell said, "and they should be confident because they're well-prepared and they trust each other now. I think going into games like this can be sticky because Muskogee plays hard."
Six minutes later the Plainsmen would score another goal on another pass from Chavez, this time to sophomore midfielder Pablo Vargas. Chavez wasn't done there, he would finish the game with three assists on the night after junior defender Zach Finnegan for the first varsity goal of his career.
Finnegan would return the favor for Chavez who finally got a goal of his own near the end of the second half. Finnegan found Chavez on a back-heeled pass that made it by the defenders, which Chavez put in the back of the net.
"He was on fire," Liddell said of Chavez.
Luis Mendoza added yet another goal on the season, his 10th of the season in just 11 games according to Liddell.
"That's great, getting into double figures this early is huge," Liddell said, "We're pumped for Luis."
The Plainsmen will play their second in what will be a four-game home stretch on Tuesday when they host No. 2 Bartlesville at 7 p.m.
"That's gonna be a barn-stormer of a game," Liddell said, "They're good, they're playing well, they've had some good results. We're excited to matchup with them."
The Pacers bounced back from an 8-0 loss to Jenks in their last game to beat Muskogee 2-1.
Cassidy Fitzgerald got first goal for girls in 18th minute when she cut inside from the left wing and put one right in the near-side upper corner of the goal.
The Pacers got another goal in the 63rd minute on a through ball by Jacey Phillips to Molly Schollenbarger who beat the keeper with her shot but it bounced off a Muskogee defender for the own goal.
"It wasn't beautiful soccer by us by any means," Liddell said, "but the girls did well to fight through and find a way get the result we wanted. After a tough one on Tuesday it was really nice to bounce back and get a district win."
Liddell said the girls game was scrappy too and the Pacers weren't able to get comfortable for all 80 minutes.
"Tonight they were scrapping against us," Liddell said, "Ton of respect for them it was a long drive coming over and that can be tough for players and they certainly went toe-to-toe with us and made it hard and they had an opportunity or two themselves but our girls did great."
The win puts the Pacers back above .500 at 6-5 on the season. On Tuesday they will host No. 3 Bartlesville.
Masri is sports editor for the Enid News & Eagle.
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