They say the tougher the battle, the sweeter the victory. Such was the case for the Deer Creek girls’ soccer team this season.
Coming into the season as the two-time defending state champions in Class 5A, everybody was gunning to take down the Antlers. Everyone tried, but nobody in Class 5A succeeded as Deer Creek won a third consecutive title finishing 17-3. Two of Deer Creek’s losses came in the Heart of America Tournament in Kansas City, and the third was to Class 6A Edmond Memorial.
Mikayla Lowery, The Oklahoman’s All-City Girls Player of the Year, scored two goals in the championship game against Carl Albert. The senior said this title run didn’t feel as assuring as the others.
“We battled as a team with injuries all year,” Lowery said. “So even going into playoffs, we were still kind of iffy. We didn’t have a strong midfield as we did last year. We moved players around all year and so we never had a true position. That made us nervous but I think honestly going into playoffs it kind of clicked. For me, it was when we played Heritage Hall and we were down. And we were all thinking this could be it because everybody was expecting more and then we came back.”
The comeback win over Heritage Hall in the state quarterfinals gave Deer Creek the boost it needed to knock off Carl Albert, a matchup that has become a regular affair in the postseason over the last few years.
Deer Creek has defeated Carl Albert in the Class 5A girls’ final for three consecutive years.
“This year I enjoyed beating them because it left no doubt in their mind,” Lowery said. “Their student section is so intimidating so it was nice to win.”
Lowery helped guide the Deer Creek girls’ track and field team to the Class 5A title earlier in the day. She said she ran to the truck after taking pictures with the trophy and made it the soccer game as warm-ups began. After graduating from high school the next day, Lowery summed up her feelings in a tweet, saying “All glory to God for letting me experience this weekend's opportunities.”
Lowery shared the same sentiment about continuing her playing career. She said she never thought of playing college soccer until after her sophomore season at Deer Creek. And after seeing Lowery score four goals in one game during her junior season, Oklahoma Baptist coach Mike White offered her a scholarship.
“So that was a good game for him to come see me play,” Lowery said. “He ended up offering me a really good scholarship that I would be stupid to pass down. So I just thought obviously this is God telling me to go here and I can’t pass it up.”