Every step they take is in new territory.
McAlester girls soccer will be heading to the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association Class 5A state playoffs for the first time in school history, and coach Charlette Moss said her team is eager for the opportunity after the journey to this point.
“I think we went into the Carl Albert game (April 20) knowing that it would be a huge difference who we played,” Moss said. “And that can go a couple different ways. They can go out scared, or they can go out and fight.”
“Even though we lost that game, they fought," she added. "And I think they’ll come out with even more fight in the playoffs.”
The Lady Buffs finished the regular season with a 10-5 record, with a 4-3 record in 5A-3 district play where they placed third. Moss said she was proud of the achievement and new milestones that McAlester has reached, but acknowledged that there’s still more work to be done.
“If we say we made the playoffs and stop there, then do we ever get a state championship?” Moss said. “So I think the next goal is let’s see what round we make it to. And we get to the next round the next year, and the next round the next year.”
McAlester will begin its first playoff journey against Collinsville, who finished as one of the top teams in 5A-4 with a 10-4 record and 6-1 in district. But no matter who the Lady Buffs are playing, they will continue to come out with the same fight and determination with which they approach every match.
“If you gave it your all and you fought your hardest, and you can be proud of your effort,” Moss said. "Of course we want to win, but either way, be proud of the effort you put on the field. When you walk off, you should be proud of what you’ve done.”
With just days to prepare, Moss and the Lady Buffs have been hard at work scouting their opponent. Their work isn’t done yet, and they’re ready to battle and take the next step.
“They showed they were willing to do what it takes to get there,” Moss said. “And I think they come out with that same determination in a playoff game. They’re there, and they want to win.”
McAlester’s first round game is scheduled for Tuesday, May 4, at 7 p.m. in Collinsville. Admission will be $7 for both students and adults.
Contact Derek Hatridge at firstname.lastname@example.org.