July 19, 2010
NORMAN, Okla. -- The 2010 Sooner soccer schedule was released on Monday, July 19 by University of Oklahoma Vice President/Athletics Director Joe Castiglione and head coach Nicole Nelson.
The slate consists of 19 regular season games, including nine contests at one of the premier collegiate soccer facilities in the nation, John Crain Field at the OU Soccer Complex. The Sooners will also host one exhibition game on Aug. 13 against Northern Colorado before the season kicks off on Aug. 20.
The season opener is one of the many highlights of the schedule as it features the first of two match-ups with in-state rival Oklahoma State. This season marks the first time that the Bedlam Soccer Series will be played in the regular season on both home fields. The Sooners and Cowgirls will open 2010 in a non-conference game in Stillwater on Aug. 20 at 7 p.m. OSU will return to the trip to Norman for the Big 12 showdown in the season finale on Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. In 2011, OU will host the non-conference game and travel to Stillwater for the Big 12 contest.
The non-conference slate also features OU hosting Stephen F. Austin (Aug. 29), Rice (Sept. 12) and Francis Marion (Oct. 8), while the Sooners will be traveling to Tulsa (Aug. 27), Missouri State (Sept. 10), USC (Sept. 17) and Santa Barbara (Sept. 19).
Overall, Oklahoma will play five games against teams that advanced to last year’s NCAA Tournament with four of the games on the road, including Oklahoma State (second round), USC (first round), Santa Barbara (first round) and Texas A&M (Sweet 16). In addition to those four teams, OU will face five other squads that rattled off 10 or more wins a year ago.
“We feel like the opponents we face in the non-conference segment will be beneficial, not only from an RPI standpoint, but also in terms of preparing us for the always grueling conference season,” said Nelson.
Big 12 play kicks off on Friday, Sept. 24 at home against Texas Tech and the Sooners will complete the weekend on Sept. 26 in Norman against Baylor. Oklahoma will also host Nebraska (Oct. 14), Colorado (Oct. 17) and Oklahoma State (Oct. 29) in league play.
The challenges on the road include Iowa State (Oct. 1), Missouri (Oct. 3), Kansas (Oct. 10), Texas A&M (Oct. 22) and Texas (Oct. 22).
“Similar to 2009, we are coming off a spring campaign that was successful from both development and win’s perspective. We are excited to see how this incoming group compliments an experienced group of returners on the field ,” added Nelson. “This returning group has worked tirelessly since last season ended to get ready for 2010, and is focused on our goal of winning a Big 12 title and advancing to the NCAA postseason.”
The Big 12 Championship (Nov. 3-7) will once again be held in San Antonio, Texas at the Blossom Soccer Stadium. The top eight teams will compete in a single-elimination tournament to determine the conference’s champion and the automatic bid to the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
The 64-team field in the NCAA Championship start things off on Nov. 12 and conclude the tourney on Dec. 5 at the Women’s College Cup, hosted this year by N.C. State in Cary, N.C.
The Sooners finished 7-10-2 in 2009 and more than doubled their win total from the previous season. In 2010, 10 of the 11 starters return, including leading-goal scorer Whitney Palmer (15 goals ranked eighth nationally). Joining the returners is a large and talented class of 12 freshmen and sophomore transfer Caitlin Mooney from Maryland.