COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The Oklahoma soccer team traveled to College Station, Texas to play New Mexico and Texas A&M in a doubleheader on Saturday, April 2. The Sooners came away from the day undefeated, after tying the Lobos, 1-1 and the Aggies, 2-2. OU remains undefeated in the spring after winning its only other contest over Rice, 2-0.
In the first game, the Sooners got off to a slow start against a New Mexico team that played with a lot of energy and controlled a lot of the play in the first half. The Lobos' efforts were rewarded with a goal off a set piece to go into halftime up 1-0.
“We started the game playing a 4-3-3 formation that we have never played but it’s something I’m thinking about for next fall," said OU head coach Randy Evans. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. We looked disorganized and under the pressure New Mexico was applying, we proved to be very ineffective in that formation. After halftime we switched back to the 3-5-2 that we played last fall and then we were able to take over the game.”
The Sooners were able to control most of the second session by possessing the ball and dictating the play, although neither team was able to create great scoring chances. During the effort to equalize, OU gave up a couple of good counter attacks to New Mexico that they were unable to convert.
The pressure from Oklahoma finally paid off late in the game as the New Mexico keeper, a New Mexico defender and Sooner forward Michelle Enos all raced for a cross sent in by Allyson Kucera. The two New Mexico players collided, leaving Enos an open net to tap the ball in for for the tie and the game ended 1-1.
“I thought New Mexico did a great job," added Evans. "I know our players were a little confused by the new formation but the biggest difference in the first half was New Mexico played with more energy than we did. In the second half we stepped up our work rate which was the biggest factor in turning the game around.”
GAME TWO: New Mexico versus Texas A&M
New Mexico then had the tough task of playing a fresh Texas A&M team. New Mexico stunned the Aggie crowd by getting on the board in the first couple of minutes to go up 1-0. After the Lobos' initial score, it was all A&M needed as the Aggies went on the win 5-1.
GAME THREE: OU versus Texas A&M
The third and final game of the day matched Oklahoma up against the defending Big 12 Champions in Texas A&M. The hard fought contest that went back and forth for 90 minutes eventually ended in another OU tie (3-3).
The Aggies wasted no time getting ahead in the contest. Just 16 seconds into the game, an A&M midfielder took a shot from 35 yards out that hit the crossbar and deflected off goalkeeper Jenny Nichols into the back of the goal.
Midway through the first half, the Sooners started to string more passes together and pressured the Aggies' defense. Kady Kelly was running in from the right side, as she took a pass from Lauren Harris at the top of the box, and hit a one-timer over the head of the A&M keeper to tie the score at one.
The score didn’t remain tied for long as the referee awarded the Aggies a penalty kick just before halftime. The Sooners' Lauren King, a native of College Station, was called for the foul as she challenged the A&M player at the corner of the box. The Aggies capitalized and took the 2-1 lead into the half.
“I was thrilled with how the team responded after giving up such an early goal," said Evans. "We turned the tide and showed that this was going to be a great game.”
The second half got underway with both teams showing the ability to possess the ball and to launch dangerous attacks. A&M forced Nichols to come up with a big save then OU knocked a shot off the A&M goal post.
OU was able to tie the game off a great goal from freshman Lauren Harris. The tally was made possible by a nice pass from Savannah Scott who split the defense with a one-touch ball to Harris who scored from five yards out.
The Sooners continued to press offensively and got the go-ahead goal with twenty minutes left. Kady Kelly sent in a corner kick that Kucera impressively finished by snapping a header low past the A&M keeper.
Just when it looked like the Sooners would record the win, the Aggies caught a break on a throw-in that slipped through the OU defense and found an Aggie forward that beat Nichols from four yards out. That goal was the last time either team would score.
“A&M is a great team and coach Guerrieri has done a great job building his squad into a perennial power," commented Evans. "Our team had a good performance and I was thrilled with the quality of goals we scored. What we cannot afford to do is give up any soft goals against a team that good. With those games under our belt, I am interested to see how the rest of the spring plays out against the teams that we are expected to beat.”
OU will return to action next weekend in Allen, Texas to battle Texas Christian and Air Force on Saturday, April 9.
OU's 2005 Spring Schedule
*all times local and subject to change. BOLD indicates home matches.