Game 3: Friday, Sept. 3 (7:30 p.m.)
Oklahoma versus TCU
Oklahoma concludes its three-game homestand with a Friday night contest against Texas Christian. Action gets underway at 7:30 p.m. at John Crain Field. The Horned Frogs (1-1-0) split last weekend, winning at Texas Tech, 2-0, on Aug. 29 after dropping a 4-0 contest to SMU in Fort Worth two days earlier.
Senior forward Amy Van Zandt came away with both of TCU’s goals in its first two contests. She also led the team in every major statistical category last season. A pair of goalkeepers have split time for TCU in its first two games. Sophomore Katy Buchanan has appeared in two games recording a 3.69 goals-against average in 97 minutes of action with seven saves. Freshman Ashley Pierret played in all but seven minutes of the win over Texas Tech and made two saves.
TCU returns 17 letterwinners and eight starters from last season’s team that tied for second in Conference USA with a 9-8-2 overall mark. OU has only lost twice to TCU in its seven meetings. The Sooners lead 4-2-1 against the Horned Frogs and tied TCU last year in Fort Worth, 1-1. The Sooners last lost to the Horned Frogs on Sept. 18, 1999, in Fort Worth (1-0).
Gates will open at 6:30 p.m. at John Crain Field on the corner of Imhoff Road and Chautauqua Avenue. The first 300 fans will receive free OU rally rags. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children. Group rates are available for groups of 10 or more at $3 a ticket. OU students receive free admission with a valid student ID. In addition, those in attendance at Friday’s game will have the opportunity to win a parking pass for the OU football game vs. Houston on Sept. 11. For more information, contact the OU ticket office at 800-456-GoOU.
Game 4: Sunday, Sept. 5 (1 p.m.)
Oklahoma at Arkansas
The Sooners will play their first road game of 2004 when they face Arkansas on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Lady Razorbacks are 1-1-0 this season after defeating Tulsa, 1-0, on Aug. 29, and losing two days earlier to Southeast Missouri State, 3-2.
Sunday’s win was the first under new head coach Gordon Henderson. Before arriving at Arkansas, Henderson helped guide Idaho State to three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.
Arkansas returns 14 letterwinners and nine starters from its 2003 squad that finished fifth in the SEC West with an overall record of 7-10-2. So far this season, sophomore Carrie Dillsaver has seen all the action in goal. She sports a 1.50 goals-against average with six saves. On the offensive side of the field, three different Lady’Backs have scored unassisted goals. That list includes junior Megan McCool and sophomores Christina Burger and Allison Harris.
OU is undefeated in five meetings with the Lady Razorbacks, with the last meeting resulting in a 3-1 victory in Norman in last season’s opener. In those contests, the Sooners have outscored Arkansas, 14-3. Arkansas plays Southwest Missouri State on Sept. 3 in Fayetteville.
In the first two games of the season, the OU offense has wasted no time putting goals up on the scoreboard. On Aug. 27, junior Michelle Enos put OU on the board against Saint Louis at the 4:42 mark. In the SMU contest, the Sooners bested Friday’s scoring time by notching a goal just 54 seconds into the game on freshman Allyson Kucera’s first collegiate goal.
The goal scored by Kucera is the fastest goal scored in a home contest for OU besting the old mark by two minutes and one second. The previous home mark was set on Sept. 4, 2001, against Oral Roberts when Shannon Wing scored at the 2:55 mark. Although quick, the 54-second goal is not the fastest all-time tally in OU history. On Sept. 6, 2002, in a game against Drury in Springfield, Mo., Logan Womack gave OU the early lead just 21 seconds into the contest.
SOONERS AT HOME UNDER EVANS
OU has made John Crain Field a tough road assignment for opponents over the years as it is 35-21-5 (.615) mark in its eight seasons. The winning percentage is even better under Evans. Now in his sixth year, the Sooners are 27-13-7 (.649) at home under Evans. Over the past three seasons, OU is 20-4-5 (.776) at John Crain Field.
Junior Lauren MacIver led OU in shots in her first two seasons and is off to a roaring start in 2004. The captain has ripped 16 shots in two games, with one goal scored and six shots on goal. As a freshman, MacIver recorded 61 shots and followed that with 69 last season.
ENOS IN SEASON OPENERS
For the third consecutive year, junior forward Michelle Enos scored a goal in the first game of the season. In 2002, Enos posted the Sooners’ second goal in a 2-0 win over Tulsa. Last season, Enos scored another insurance goal in the 3-1 win over Arkansas.
Freshman Shana All leads the team in assists with two. MacIver led OU in assists with five in 2003. Both of All’s assists came off perfectly placed corner kicks that found fellow Sooners in the box for net-finding headers. Against Saint Louis, she found Michelle Enos on a ball she centered from the right corner. Against SMU, her corner kick put the Sooners on the board after fellow freshman Allyson Kucera nailed home the header.
FRESHMEN CATCHING ON QUICKLY
The 2004 freshman class gained valuable experience over the weekend as three started both contests (Lauren Harris, Allyson Kucera and Shana All) and three others saw time throughout the two games. The trio of Kucera, All and Harris played a majority of the 220 minutes, while Jennifer Nichols, Tenesha Duncan and Colleen Keester saw significant time as well.
With just two games under their belts, OU’s Lauren MacIver and Shana All lead the Big 12 in a couple categories. MacIver paces the conference with 16 shots, while All is tied at the top with two assists.
After playing in a school-record nine overtime games last season (3-1-5 record), OU is now 0-0-2 in extra-session games in 2004. Dating back to last season, eight of OU’s last 12 games have gone to overtime. In its history, Oklahoma is 6-8-13 in extra time (.463 winning percentage). Under Evans, OU is 5-3-13 in overtime games (.548 winning percentage).
CORNERING THE OPPOSITION
After struggling against the opposition in 2003 in the corner kick category, the 2004 Sooners have taken advantage of the set plays from the corners, scoring two goals in two games off of headers. The Sooners have produced 12 corner kicks compared to five a year ago after two games. Saint Louis managed five corner kicks while SMU produced just two.
SOONERS HIT THE ROAD
After opening up the season at home with three consecutive games, the Sooners hit the road for nine of their next ten contests. That all starts with Arkansas this weekend and is followed by trips to Tulsa, Okla., Tempe, Ariz. and four stops in Texas (Austin, College Station, Waco and Lubbock). The one home game in between that span will come on Sept. 24 when OU opens Big 12 play with Missouri.
OU goalkeepers Catherine Wade and Jennifer Nichols have split time in the Sooners’ two games. The veteran Wade started both games and was relieved on both occasions at halftime by the former high school All-American. In 90 minutes of action, Wade has allowed one goal and made two saves. Nichols has seen 130 minutes in goal for OU and has given up two goals and made eight saves.
FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
On Aug. 27, the Sooners squared off for the first time against Saint Louis, coming away with a 1-1 tie. On Sept. 19 in Tempe, Ariz., the Sooners will play against another opponent for the first time, Arizona State. The two met during the 2004 spring season, also in Tempe, with ASU winning 2-0.
REMAINING NON-CONFERENCE ACTION
After starting off the season with two hard- fought games, the Sooners return to action with six more non-conference outings before Big 12 play opens. Of the six opponents remaining, OU has faced all but Arizona State and holds a 18-6-1 record (.740 winning percentage) versus the group. Included in that list is an impressive 5-0 mark against Arkansas and a 6-1 record versus Oral Roberts. The following are OU’s records against non-conference opponents that remain on the 2004 schedule.
|Total||18-6-1 (740 winning percentage)|
Game 1: August 27 vs. Saint Louis
at John Crain Field (Norman, Okla.)
Oklahoma soccer team ushered in the 2004 season with a 1-1 tie against Saint Louis at John Crain Field on Friday night. The game marked the first meeting between the two schools and they did not disappoint, putting together an exciting game filled with scoring chances on both sides of the field for the full 110 minutes.
Oklahoma (0-0-1) took the initial lead in the first half on a perfect cross from freshman Shana All. All found junior Michelle Enos sneak up on the back door and knock in a header past SLU goalie Amanda Martin at the 40:18 mark. The Sooners controlled a majority of the first half as they recorded five shots to the Billikens’ (0-0-1) two.
All was not the only freshman to see a lot of time on Friday night. Three newcomers started the contest (All, Lauren Harris and Allyson Kucera) and saw significant time throughout the game. While All contributed an assist in her first game in an OU uniform, Harris and Kucera helped anchor an OU defense that held SLU scoreless until the 52:46 mark in the second half. The tying goal came from SLU’s Jamie Perry, who placed the ball nicely past freshman goalie Jennifer Nichols. Nichols came off the bench to start the second half, relieving the game’s starter, senior Catherine Wade. Evans sat Wade in the second half to rest the captain and give Nichols some experience in goal.
The game ended in regulation knotted at one goal apiece as both teams shot the ball 13 times in the 90 minutes.
MacIver led OU in shots with five, two on goal, and junior Becky Nelson recorded four shots, three on goal.
Game 2: August 29 vs. SMU
at John Crain Field (Norman, Okla.)
OU played its second game in three days and came away with its second consecutive tie, 2-2, against SMU. Junior captain Lauren MacIver scored the game-tying goal in the 87th minute off an indirect kick just outside of the box on the right side. MacIver’s blast was her first tally of the season and also resulted in senior captain Samantha Faulkner’s first assist of 2004 after she tapped the ball to MacIver on the set play.
The Sooners put the first goal on the board just 54 seconds into the game. The goal was set up by freshman Shana All as she recorded her second assist of the season. Just like Friday, All put perfect touch on a corner kick that found freshman Allyson Kucera in the box. Kucera proceeded to score her first collegiate goal on a header that found the back of the net.
The OU defense was able to hold SMU, which tallied four goals on Friday versus TCU, scoreless until the 34:02 mark when Marisa Cheida scored an unassisted goal, her second of the season. The shot from 30 yards out was hit hard past senior goalkeeper Catherine Wade, who started her second game of the season in net for OU but was relieved by freshman Jennifer Nichols at halftime for the second straight outing.
Nichols gave up a goal to the Mustangs just 1:15 into the second half as Krystal Bailey found the net with the help of Jill Heineman’s assist. Trailing SMU in the shot category, 12-6, after the first 50 minutes of action, the Sooners went on a run of sorts, outshooting SMU 14-2 to end the game.
EXPERIENCE EQUALS SUCCESS
If experience equals success, then the Sooners are in a for an enjoyable season. In 2004, OU returns 16 letterwinners and nine starters from last season. In the eight-year history of the OU soccer program, the Sooners have only sported more than 16 letterwinners on two occassions. In both of those instances, the Sooners advanced to the Big 12 tournament. OU has advanced to three Big 12 Tournaments in its eight seasons of existence.
In 2003, OU returned 19 letterwinners and eight starters. That team went 8-7-5 and advanced to the school’s first ever NCAA Tournament. The 2001 edition of the Sooners also featured 19 returning letterwinners, but only four starters. That squad posted, at the time, the most wins in a single season with 11 and finished 11-7-1. Oklahoma duplicated that feat in 2001, with an 11-8 mark.
This season, OU is hoping that the experience, coupled with a talented freshmen class, will help it take the next step. The Sooners will look to advance to their fourth Big 12 Tournament in five years. OU is 1-3 lifetime in postseason conference play, posting its lone victory in the 2000 quarterfinals against Texas by a 2-0 count.
SOONERS PICKED SEVENTH IN BIG 12
Oklahoma was picked to finish in seventh place in the Big 12 Conference, according to a coaches poll released by the league office on Wednesday, August 18.
The Sooners, who return 16 letterwinners from last year’s 8-7-5 team, were slotted behind Texas A&M, Texas, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma State and Missouri. Following Oklahoma in the poll were Baylor, Iowa State and Texas Tech. Coaches were not allowed to vote on their own team. Nebraska elected not to participate in the voting and was not included in the preseason poll. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team, the other 10 teams only received points from nine voting coaches.
Coached by sixth-year head coach Randy Evans, the Sooners will open their 2004 schedule with home games against Saint Louis and SMU on Aug. 27 and 29, respectively. In 2003, the Sooners were tabbed to finish sixth in the conference and took the No. 6 seed into the Big 12 Tournament before losing to Kansas. After making its third appearance in the Big 12 Tournament in school history, OU made its debut in the NCAA Tournament where they lost to the No. 7 ranked Tennessee Lady Vols, 1-0.
“The Big 12 is one of the better soccer conferences out there,” said Evans. “We proved that collectively last year when we sent eight teams to the NCAA postseason. Our goal is obviously to put together a strong enough season to be an at-large team, but ultimately we are striving for the automatic bid by winning the Big 12 Tournament.”
Junior captain Lauren MacIver headlines a talented group of Sooners that returns nine starters from the 2003 season. MacIver earned second-team All-Big 12 honors last season along with senior defender Erin Young. Evans also brings in one of his most talented freshmen classes in 2004.
“This team, on paper, will probably be the most talented that I have fielded at OU,” added Evans. “It should be an exciting season when you combine the incoming freshmen with an already talented group from last season.”
BIG 12 PRESEASON COACHES POLL