Soccer Opens Season at Home Friday

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
AUGUST 20, 2009

Aug. 20, 2009

Sooner Soccer vs. Missouri State and Sam Houston
 Games 1 and 2  Friday, Aug. 21 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 23 at 7 p.m.
 Location  Norman, Okla.  |  John Crain Field (Capacity: 3,500)
 Internet  Live Stats | Webcast
 Promotions  First 500 fans receive OU posters | Fans First Day
 Tickets  Adults - $8, Children - $5 | Call or Purchase Online
 Game Info  2009 Media Guide | Game Notes

NORMAN, Okla.-- For just the fourth time in the program's history, the Sooner soccer team will start the 2009 season at home.  Oklahoma is 2-0-1 in the previous three season openers in Norman and will host Missouri State on Friday, Aug. 21 at 7 p.m. at John Crain Field at the OU Soccer Complex. 

Missouri State was picked to finish second in the Missouri Valley Conference.  The Bears return 12 letterwinners and five starters from a 2008 team that was 10-7-2 overall and finished tied for fourth in the league with a 3-3 mark.

The Sooners and Bears last met in 2006 when OU took a 2-0 lead in the series with a 1-0 victory in Norman on Oct. 26.  Prior to that meeting, OU and then-Southwest Missouri State, played on Sept. 21, 2001. OU also recorded a 1-0 win in that game in Norman.

Game Two | Sam Houston State
The four-game home stand continues on Sunday, Aug. 23 at 7 p.m. as OU welcomes Sam Houston State for the first meeting in the series.  Sunday's game is the season opener for the Bearkats, who were picked seventh in the Southland Conference.  Sam Houston State finished seventh with a 4-5 conference mark in 2008 and returns 11 letterwinners and six starters from a team that was 9-7 overall. 

Player to Watch - Whitney Palmer
The 2009 Preseason All-Big 12 member begins the 2009 season ranked sixth in career goals at OU with 14.  Palmer led OU in scoring in each of the past two seasons, including the third-highest total (8) in a single season a year ago.  2008 Season Stats: 8 goals, 57 shots, 22 SOG, 19 starts

On Friday, the first 500 fans will receive a 2009 soccer schedule poster and the game will be followed by a post-game autograph session with the players and coaches.  In addition, fireworks will be displayed after each OU goal is scored. Sunday's game marks "Fans First Day" as all fans in attendance receive free admission.  The first 500 fans will also receive a 2009 schedule poster and the Sooners will sign autographs following the game.

For tickets, call (405) 325-2424 or toll-free (800) 456-GoOU.  Tickets can also be purchased at the main ticket office in Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium or at the OU Soccer Complex on the day of the game.

On the Web
Fans can follow both games on the web with live stats on and a video webcast on Oklahoma All-Access. Click the links above to access the multimedia content.

Video Practice Video Update | Season Preview Part I, Part II | Nelson Q&A

Next Weekend

OU continues the four-game home stand and hosts a pair of in-state rivals next weekend.  On Friday, Aug. 28, the Sooners will entertain Oral Roberts at 7 p.m. at John Crain Field.  On Sunday, Aug. 30, OU welcomes Tulsa for a 7 p.m. contest.

Webcast Schedule
Eight of the 11 home games can be seen live on Oklahoma All-Access,'s premium site.  The games on Sept. 20, Oct. 16 and 18 will not aired.  LIve stats for all games can be found on

Season Openers
OU is 5-2-1 in the last eight season openers. The two defeats in that span came last year at Colorado College (L, 3-1) and in 2006 at Washington (L, 1-0). The tie occurred in 2004 against Saint Louis in Norman. OU is 6-6-1 lifetime in the first game of the year, including a 2-0-1 mark at home.  The last time OU opened a regular season slate at home was in 2007, an 8-0 win over Alabama A&M that featured the Sooners tying the program record for goals scored in a single game.  Overall, OU is 7-5-1 in home openers.

Exhibition win
Junior Sage Coralli found the back of the net on a loose ball in the box in the second overtime as OU topped Arkansas, 1-0, in exhibition play on Aug. 14 at the OU Soccer Complex.  The Sooners led the shot count, 16-9, but trailed 6-3 on corner kicks.  The Sooners started three true freshmen and put 17 players on the field in the 103 minutes. The teams also met during the spring season and OU won 2-0 back on April 4 in Norman.

Palmer Preseason All-Big 12
OU junior forward Whitney Palmer was named to the All-Big 12 soccer preseason team as voted on by the conference's coaches. 

Palmer is the first Sooner since Logan Womack (2002) to be named to the preseason team and the third in the program's 13 year history (Christen Secrest - 2000).  She led OU with eight goals in 2008, third most by a Sooner in a single season, and was named to the All-Big 12 second team. As a true freshman, the Plano, Texas, native was named to the All-Big 12 Newcomer team with six goals scored.

Preseason Big 12 Poll
Missouri and Texas A&M tied for the top spot in the 2009 Big 12 Soccer Preseason Poll, voted on by the league's head coaches. The Aggies received six of 10 first place votes (coaches are not allowed to vote for their own team or players) while the 2008 postseason champion Tigers tallied four. Colorado was chosen third with 76 points. Oklahoma State, last year's regular season champion, received one first-place vote and came in fourth place with 68 points. The remainder of poll consisted of Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Baylor and Iowa State.

Refer to page four for a complete list of the poll and the entire preseason All-Big 12 team.

Soccer Alumni Weekend Set for Sept. 18-20
The alumni of the University of Oklahoma soccer program are invited to join the Sooners at the 2009 Soccer Alumni Weekend held Sept. 18-20 at John Crain Field.  Click here for more information.

Newcomers Honored Nationally
Several of the newcomers in the 2009 class come to Norman with some impressive national accolades.  Freshmen Dria Hampton and Kelsey Devonshire headline the list after participating in a U.S. Soccer U-19 Region III camp in June.  Hampton was also ranked the No. 13 recruit in the nation in 2009 by Top Drawer Soccer and No. 23 by ESPNU.  Three freshmen, Leslie Shurtleff (second team), Kalie Cirinna (third team) and Olivia Kintigh (honorable mention) were named ESPN Rise All-Americans after their senior years in high school.

Abel Works with USA Camp
OU assistant soccer coach Graeme Abel was invited to work as a goalkeepers' coach for a camp in July for the Under-20 U.S. Women's National Team. He is entering his second season with the Sooners in 2009 and came to Norman after coaching the previous three years on the University of Nevada's staff. The Liverpool, England native, also has experience in other levels of the sport, including professional playing experience in England.

Sooners Post 6-0 Mark in Spring

OU finished the spring with a 6-0 record that included four road victories.  The Sooners topped Central Oklahoma, TCU, Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas and Tulsa.  Kelsey Kraft led the offense with seven of the team's 14 goals.  Whitney Palmer added four scores.

Schedule offers Challenges
Oklahoma will play eight teams that advanced to last year's NCAA Tournament and it will host five of those contests in Norman, including USC (Sweet 16), Texas (second round), Texas A&M (Elite 8), Kansas (second round) and Missouri (second round).  In addition, OU will travel to LSU (first round), Colorado (first round) and Oklahoma State (second round).  Texas A&M (No. 7), USC (No. 8), Oklahoma State (No. 11), Texas (No. 15) and Missouri (No. 24) also appear in the NSCAA coaches preseason poll.  Refer to page four for complete list of preseason rankings.



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