Sept. 20, 2009
NORMAN, Okla. -- The Oklahoma Sooners lost a hard fought battle to visiting USC on Sunday and dropped a 1-0 decision to conclude the non-conference portion of the schedule. The loss, the Sooners’ first at home this season, moved OU’s record to 5-3-1 heading into Big 12 play next weekend.
The Trojans jumped on the board early at the 8:13 mark as Courtney Garcia found the back of the net after OU goalkeeper Kelsey Devonshire made the initial save on Marihelen Tomer’s shot across the front of the goal.
The goal was enough to make USC, the 2007 National Champions, 5-3 on the season after it has won five of its last six outings.
While the Sooners got off to a slow start in the first half, they still created solid scoring opportunities, highlighted by Dria Hampton’s free kick at the top of the box at the 34:53 mark. The set piece was set up by a streaking Lauren Alkek who was taken down by USC’s Chelsea Buehning and issued a red card.
In the second half, OU controlled possession for a majority of the final 45 minutes and fired 14 shots opposite USC’ five. Kelsey Kraft took five of those shots in the second half and finished the contest with a game-high seven, including four on goal.
In the final 25 minutes of play, OU fired six shots at the USC goal and Kraft’s header in the 65th minute might have been the Sooners’ best chance. Unfortunately, the shot could not get over top of the hands of USC goalkeeper Kristin Olsen, who made six saves in the contest.
“I would say there was a tremendous effort on our part in the second half. We lost a starting center back on Friday night and losing Ashley Bolden changes a lot of what we do as a back line,” said OU Head Coach Nicole Nelson. “I think we adjusted well, we didn’t know until game time if she would be in. So I think we missed an opportunity for being a man up for a big piece of that match.”
Despite the one-man advantage for OU, USC had its share of chances in the game and forced Devonshire to make a career-high 10 saves. The Trojans are just the second team this season to hold a lead over the Sooners going into halftime (LSU led 2-0 on Sept. 11).
“Hats off to USC for coming in here and getting the win. We continue every week to create better goal-scoring chances and defensively, I think we are more organized. At this point, we are focused on getting everyone healthy and that will be our biggest attribute going into conference (next weekend)."
Oklahoma continues the four-game home stand next weekend and opens Big 12 play on Friday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. against Texas (3-5). On Sunday, the Sooners host No. 17 Texas A&M (5-3) at 1 p.m. at the OU Soccer Complex.