Oklahoma Soccer Opening Weekend
|Oklahoma at Tennessee||Oklahoma vs. Kennesaw State|
|Friday, Aug. 23 | 6 p.m. CT||Sunday, Aug. 25 | 11 a.m. CT|
|Knoxville, Tenn. (Regal Soccer Stadium)||Knoxville, Tenn. (Regal Soccer Stadium)|
2013 Oklahoma Soccer at a Glance
Five Notes for Opening Weekend
1. ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Opening the 2013 season on the road seems appropriate for the Oklahoma soccer team, which will play a total of 11 contests away from John Crain Field this fall. The Sooners have played their season opener on the road or at a neutral site 11 times in program history, with the last road opener coming in 2010. OU faced No. 19 Oklahoma State in that match, falling by a score of 0-1.
2. TESTS AHEAD
The Sooners open against talented Tennessee and Kennesaw State squads this weekend, setting the tone for a 2013 slate that features some of the nation’s top teams. Oklahoma is set to face five teams that are ranked in the NSCAA/Continental Tire Preseason Top 25, including three top-10 squads. The Sooners will receive an early test in September, taking on No. 6 Florida and No. 3 Florida State on Sept. 6 and 8, respectively.
3. NEW FACES TAKE THE FIELD
Head coach Matt Potter will field a young squad in 2013, with 15 newcomers vying for playing time this season. Six newcomers made their first starts at the NCAA Division I level in last weekend’s exhibition matches, including five true freshmen. Jemma Cota (MF) Shiloh Price (MF), Paige Jacobs (MF), Rachel Ressler (D) all started both games, while junior college transfer Daisy Cardona (F) made her first start as a Sooner against Idaho.
4. RETURNERS READY TO LEAD
OU will count on the contributions of the 10 returners on its roster this season. The group is expected to supply leadership and maturity to a young Sooner squad. Returning starters include Emily Bowman, Zoe Dickson, Abby Hodgen, Molly Richey and Kathryn Watson.
5. A NEW LOOK IN THE GOAL
After four-year starter Kelsey Devonshire wrapped up her career in 2012, OU will get a new look at goalkeeper this fall. Redshirt freshman Kassadie Stade received the starting nod from Potter in both of OU’s exhibition matches and is expected to start this weekend. True freshman Miranda Larkin may also see time in the goal for the Sooners.
Game 1 | at Tennessee
The Sooners will open the weekend at Tennessee, facing the Lady Vols on Friday, Aug. 23 at 6 p.m. CT.
UT finished third in the SEC last season, holding a conference record of 9-3-1 and an overall mark of 14-5-3. The Lady Vols return eight starters from last season’s team, including junior forward Hannah Wilkinson. Wilkinson, a 2013 Missouri Athletic Club (MAC) Hermann Trophy Watch List pick, was also a third-team All-American and first-team All-SEC selection.
Tennessee faced preseason-No. 7 Duke in exhibition play last weekend, falling by a score of 0-2. UT is led by head coach Brian Pensky.
Game 2 | vs. Kennesaw State
OU and Kennesaw State will meet in Knoxville on Sunday, Aug. 25 at 11 a.m. CT.
The Owls posted a 10-8-1 record in 2012, including a 6-2-1 mark in American Southwest Conference action. KSU returns eight starters to the field this season under the direction of 12th-year head coach Rob King.
Kennesaw State earned a 1-1 record in preseason exhibition contests, dropping an 0-3 decision to Wofford on Aug. 9 before topping Clayton State 3-0 on Aug. 17.
Below is a breakdown of statistics returning from the 2012 campaign:
Returning Statistic Totals
Shots on goal...19
With 15 newcomers hitting the field this season for the Sooners, fans can expect to see plenty of new faces on the pitch throughout the fall. The OU coaching staff signed 14 prospects to their signing class in February before adding one additional transfer in the spring.
In-state products joining OU this season are Shiloh Price (Broken Arrow, Okla.), Madison Saliba (Broken Arrow, Okla.) and Lisa Robinson (Oklahoma City, Okla.).
The Sooners also added four Arizona high school standouts in Jemma Cota (Gilbert, Ariz.), Jamie Iurato (Mesa, Ariz.), Madison Kinzer (Oro Valley, Ariz.) and Rachel Ressler (Phoenix, Ariz.). Four athletes from the Texas soccer ranks chose OU as well: Courtney Forte (Flower Mound, Texas), Paige Jacobs (Coppell, Texas), Miranda Larkin (Rockwall, Texas) and Purdue transfer Katie Sheinfeld (Dallas, Texas).
Rounding out the OU roster will be Daisy Cardona (Ventura, Calif.), Kaitlyn Fahrner (Las Vegas, Nev.), Caren Nelson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Elise Romano (Basking Ridge, N.J.).
OU will play a split weekend on the road and at home next Friday and Sunday. The Sooners will face Oklahoma State in the first of two matches in the Bedlam Series on Friday, Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. in Stillwater, Okla.
Oklahoma will return to Norman for their home opener on Sunday, Sept. 1, taking on Texas State at noon in the friendly confines of the OU Soccer Complex. The game will be faculty and staff night, and fans presenting an OU vs. Louisiana-Monroe football ticket will receive $4 admission to the match.