GIRLS SOCCER: Molini, Powell secure 4A state championship for Lady Mustangs

May 14—OKLAHOMA CITY — The Lady Mustangs are riding high.

History was made on Friday night as Oologah galloped to victory, clinching its first-ever state title in girls soccer. With a stellar performance led by Layney Molini's two goals and Jazmyne Powell's numerous saves, the Lady Mustangs triumphed over Weatherford 2-1 in the Class 4A state championship at Taft Stadium in Oklahoma City.

This monumental achievement not only secured the school's inaugural state title in girls soccer but also marked its first team-sport championship since softball reigned supreme in 2012.

"It's a great feeling," Oologah coach Sam Bowers said. "... I'm so proud of the kids — they deserve all the credit. They sacrificed and play hard. It wasn't the prettiest thing, but when you win a state championship, it's prettier than anything you can imagine. I'm just so happy for Oologah and the community."

Here are the key takeaways from the Lady Mustangs' intense battle against the Lady Eagles:

Player of the Game: Layney Molini. The Texas Tech commit once again proved why she is regarded as a future NCAA Division I athlete. She rose to the occasion just like she had throughout the season, burying both of Oologah's goals to secure a historic victory for her team.

Molini's impact was felt early in the game as she swiftly responded to Weatherford's opening goal.

Just over seven minutes after Avery Hahn gave Weatherford the lead during a scramble following a corner kick, the junior midfielder seized the moment with a precise free kick from roughly 30 yards out, expertly placing the ball just above the goalkeeper's head and into the back of the net with 20:52 remaining in the first half.

"I have struggled this entire year with hitting my free kicks," Molini said. "I've only hit one other one besides that. Coach Bowers and me, we have kind of a love-hate relationship, for sure. He pushes me to be my best, and sometimes it frustrates me a little bit, especially when he's getting mad at me for missing them because I'm already getting mad at myself. Being able to score and be like, 'Bowers, I scored a free kick — how do you feel about that', I think that was probably my favorite part of it all. It was just a great way to end the season for me because it showed that I've just made improvements on the things I wanted to improve.

"That was definitely something I needed to improve on, and when the big moment came, I stepped up and I hit it, and I think that's what matters the most."

Her ability to make big plays from anywhere on the pitch was on full display throughout the game.

Her game-winning goal exemplified her skill and athleticism, for she capitalized on a fast-break opportunity created by teammate Kailee Seaba, who stole the ball as most of the Lady Eagles' players were pushed forward for a corner kick.

Molini received a long pass from Seaba near midfield and dashed into the penalty box, skillfully maneuvering past defenders before unleashing a powerful left-footed strike that found the back of the net at the 25:10 mark of the second half.

"Honestly, the defense did a really good job of closing down my shots; I noticed that in the first half," Molini said. "I took a lot of shots, and a lot of them got blocked, so I was just trying to create the most space, and I knew I kind of had time since everyone was super far behind. I (just kept going) until I found the right area to hit my shot."

Molini consistently threatened the Weatherford defense with six shots on goal, keeping the pressure on the opposition and forcing the Lady Eagle goalkeeper to make several crucial saves. Her relentless attacking mentality and dynamic playmaking abilities kept the defense on its toes throughout the match.

Brynlee Sweet had three near-makes as well.

Key Moment: With less than five minutes remaining in the game and Oologah holding onto a narrow lead, Weatherford forward Braelee Epp found herself with a golden opportunity to tie the game as she charged towards the goal in a one-on-one situation.

As Epp closed in on the goal, Lady Mustangs goalkeeper Jazmyne Powell felt the immense pressure resting on her shoulders — she was the last line of defense standing between her opponent and a potential game-tying goal.

With determination and focus, Powell pleaded with herself to preserve her team's lead and secure the state championship title.

"What's going through my head is, 'Just for the love of everything, stop the ball,'" Powell said. "I was hoping that God would just be on my side that day."

He was.

As Epp unleashed her shot, Powell stood her ground and positioned herself perfectly, denying her attempt to find the back of the net. The ball sailed straight into Powell's hands with 4:05 remaining, and she quickly fell to the ground and clutched it tightly to prevent any last-ditched attacks from the Lady Eagles.

"I was just hoping I would be in the way of her and she would just hit it out or at me, and she did," Powell said.

The game-saving save marked a fitting conclusion to Powell's career as the senior goalkeeper for the Lady Mustangs. Powell had made six saves throughout the match, but none were as crucial as the one she made in the final minutes of the championship game.

Despite facing unfamiliar adversity in the semifinals and finals, Powell's veteran experience and confidence never wavered.

Before the final two games against Oklahoma Christian School and Weatherford, she had given up only four goals during Oologah's then-11-game winning streak and 11 total for the season. But those two opponents managed to get a combined three balls past her.

However, Powell's composure under pressure allowed her to remain calm, ultimately making the decisive save that clinched the biggest win in school history for Oologah.

"(What kept me confident was) just knowing there's still time on the clock and knowing there's still time to make up for the mistake that I made in letting the ball go in," Powell said. "The thought process is, if we're down or a goal is scored, I know there's still minutes left on the clock."

As the final whistle blew, Powell's heroics in goal were celebrated by her teammates and fans alike, solidifying her legacy as a standout performer and leader for Lady Mustangs girls soccer.

Her game-clinching save will be remembered as a defining moment in the team's journey to capturing the state championship, forever etching her name in Oologah sports history.

"It feels so surreal," Powell said. "I feel like I'm dreaming, and I hope I don't wake up. This is a better ending to the year than I could've ever asked for."