BY Jon Potts
CLAREMORE – The Piedmont Wildcats scratched and clawed but in the end dropped a 2-1 heartbreaker to the Claremore Zebras in the Class 5A semifinals Tuesday night at Lantow Field.
Piedmont finished 12-6. Claremore (16-2) will face Tulsa Bishop Kelley in Broken Arrow at 6:00 Friday in the championship game. Kelley beat Heritage Hall 5-3 in Tuesday’s other semifinal.
Claremore freshman Jenna Brown got the game’s first goal in the fourth minute from about 15 yards out along the right wing.
Brown got a great feed from co-captain Taryn Kedzior near midfield and capitalized as she punched the ball into the lower left corner of the cage.
Olivia Maulsby then had a chance for the Zebras about a minute later after a steal. However, her semi breakaway try sailed just wide of the left post.
Brown, however, stole the ball mere seconds after that and cashed in again from about 15 yards out in the 6th minute.
Piedmont cut its deficit in half when Kylie Pyle converted on a free kick attempt from straight on about 35 yards out in the 11th minute.
That turned out to be the final score but both teams certainly had plenty of opportunities the rest of the way.
That same scenario that the Wildcats scored on occurred again in the 25th minute, but this time Claremore keeper Courtney Cardwell made a good stop on Pyle.
Piedmont keeper Maci Attalla came up with a nice save on Chandler Payne’s free kick attempt from about 40 yards out in the 33rd minute.
The Wildcats had a couple of good looks late in the first half but Cardwell was able to stop both of those tries.
Piedmont then had a golden opportunity right away in the second half. Julia Grimes, however, saw her shot from about 20 yards out on the right side hit the cross bar.
Brown made a nice crossing pass to Kassidy Hannah in the 52nd minute but her attempt sailed over the top of the cage.
The Wildcats had a handful of good looks just a couple of minutes later. Cardwell made an initial save on Pyle’s free kick from about 25 yards out.
Piedmont then had two more opportunities from in tight. The Zebra defense blocked the first attempt and then Cardwell made another stop on the second try.
Kedzior had a good chance from about 20 yards out in the 66th minute but Attalla came up with a nice save. Brown then hit the cross bar from about 25 yards out three minutes later.
The Wildcats kept trying to push down the stretch but the Claremore defense proved to be too stout to penetrate.