Friday, Aug. 29, 2008
NORMAN, Okla. -- The University of Oklahoma soccer team’s 1-0 halftime lead and home opener were spoiled by visiting Central Michigan in a 3-1 defeat on Friday at John Crain Field.
The Sooners took an early 1-0 lead on Whitney Palmer’s goal, but the Chippewas rallied with three second half scores to improve to 2-0 on the season. The loss drops Oklahoma to 0-2.
The game’s decisive goal came in the 63rd minute on a free kick that was a result of the second yellow card issued to Ashley Bolden in the game. Stephanie Martin converted the set play for the Chippewas from the top of the box less than two minutes after her teammate, Amanda Waugh, tied the game at one apiece.
“We had a couple of bad breaks in the beginning of the second half on the two goals and anytime you play a man down, its tough,” said head coach Nicole Nelson. “I think it was a tremendous effort to play with 10 (players) and to create as many opportunities as we did. We made very young mistakes tonight and we have to be more disciplined.”
The Sooners started slow in the first half but Palmer gave OU a 1-0 advantage at the 15:32 mark after Sage Coralli and Kelsey Allison strung together two nice passes in CMU’s box to set up the go-ahead score. The goal was the first of the season for the sophomore forward and the seventh of her career. The assists were also season firsts for Allison and Coralli.
The Oklahoma offense continued to pressure the Chippewas’ defense throughout the first half and the lead lasted until the 61st minute.
The Chippewas tied the game at the 62:04 mark and then took their first lead off the free kick by Martin. The first CMU goal came after Waugh knocked the ball away from OU goalkeeper Lisa Jett. Jett’s initial save was jarred loose and paved the way for the Chippewas first goal.
Molly Gerst helped put the game out of reach for OU, which was playing with 10 players on the field as a result of Bolden’s red card (two yellows), in the 84th minute on the third and final goal of the contest.
Central Michigan finished with 15 shots Friday night opposite the Sooners’ 10.
For Oklahoma, Jett fell to 0-2 on the season after making six saves and Coralli, also new to the Sooners’ 2008 roster, led the squad with four shots.
Despite Friday’s loss, Coach Nelson was encouraged by her team’s effort.
“I want to continue to see the fight that we showed when playing with a man down tonight,” added Nelson. “They never quit tonight. We are getting better every game and our back line was much more organized than we were last Friday. We have to make some adjustments for Sunday’s game without Ashley and move forward.”
The Sooners will look to snap the two-game skid on Sunday as they host another opponent from the Mid American Conference, Ball State. Game time is slated for 1 p.m. and admission is free for all those in attendance.
The Cardinals are 0-1 after falling in their season opener last weekend at Valparaiso. Ball State was idle on Friday night.