A win was needed to keep any hope alive on a down season for Yukon boys soccer.
Heading into a match 1-9 on the season and against a team that coach Neil Hilton had never beaten in his 10 years at Yukon High School, the Millers needed something to go right.
Edmond North (7-3) is having another successful season but Yukon believed they could derail it.
“Obviously, a win is what we needed,” Hilton said. “It’s not like we haven’t been playing at that level, we just haven’t been able to find a way to win. Ultimately, we just found a way.”
The Millers took an unlikely path to their 2-1 victory Tuesday. A team 0-4 in games that went to penalty kicks coming into the match, Yukon broke that streak.
The score was 1-1 going into halftime but 40 more minutes of play didn’t help decide the contest. After winning the PK shoot-out, everyone on the team felt as though a weight had been lifted off their shoulders.
“It felt amazing,” Hilton said. “I think we (coaches) celebrated more than the boys. Last year we were lucky enough to win all of our PK shoot outs and this year and we haven’t managed to win one and to get that feeling on Tuesday night was a great feeling for the guys. We enjoyed it.”
Yukon hasn’t had the taste of success often this season, winning just two out of nine contests this season. A win against a team that has handled them for a decade brought a new wave of happiness to the Millers.
“It completely changed the mood. In the locker room, there was positivity. They were laughing, they were smiling,” Hilton said.
Hilton knows wins like this don’t happen very often.
“To beat them and to beat a good program like that is something to be excited about and enjoy,” he said.
Over the season, the Millers have come out on the wrong end of games, but that hasn’t been due to their level of play.
“As far as performance goes, I think we play at a very similar level as other teams, we just came out on the right end of things Tuesday night,” Hilton said.
The win was also important for Yukon’s playoff hopes.
The Millers needed to win three out of four games going into the night. Knowing this, they did the improbable and kept their season alive.
“I think we’re definitely capable,” Hilton said. “It’s not going to be easy.”
Yukon’s next two games after Tuesday are going to make it difficult for the Millers to be seen in the postseason.
Yukon played Putnam City (10-3) and they will play U.S. Grant (9-2) Monday, all on the road.
“We’re playing three quality teams away from home,” Hilton said. “Which, obviously, on the road, it’s not going to be easy.”
Though it won’t be easy, that doesn’t mean Hilton believes his team isn’t ready for the challenge.
“They’ve worked hard for it and they haven’t given up on it,” he said. “They deserve the chance that they’ve got heading into these last three games.”