NORMAN, Okla. -- With three games remaining on the regular season slate, the Oklahoma Sooners (6-9-1, 3-4-1) take the field this weekend at home looking to conclude the conference portion of the schedule on a winning note and remain in the top five of the Big 12 standings.
On Friday, OU will battle Northern Iowa (1-14), a member of the Missouri Valley Conference, at 7 p.m. at John Crain Field. After the game, six Sooners will be honored at Senior Night; Andrea Hurley, Kady Kelly, Ashley King, Lauren King, Savannah Scott and Christie Smeal.
On Sunday, Oklahoma hosts Nebraska (8-5-3, 3-4-1) in the Big 12 finale at 1 p.m. The Sooners and Cornhuskers enter the weekend in a tie for fifth place in the conference standings.
FOLLOW LIVE ACTION
Live Stats for this weekend’s games can be tracked by clicking the link inside this weekend’s preview on SoonerSports.com. In addition, this weekend's game can be seen live on the O-Zone, SoonerSports.com’s premium web site.
TICKETS AND PROMOTIONS
Gates will open one hour before each game at John Crain Field on the corner of Imhoff Road and Chautauqua Avenue. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children (K-12). OU students receive free admission with a valid student ID. For more information, including information on group rates, contact the OU ticket office at 800-456-GoOU. On Friday, the first 250 fans will receive a free OU banner. On Sunday, the first 250 fans will receive a free OU visor.
SCOUTING THE PANTHERS
Oklahoma and Northern Iowa will be meeting for the first time on Friday. The Sooners have faced five first-time opponents this season and are 1-4 in those contests.
The Panthers enter the game after recording their first win of the season on Friday. UNI snapped a 13-game losing streak against Illinois State on the road with a 1-0 decision. In their last outing, the Panthers were handed a 3-1 defeat by Evansville.
The Sooners are not the first Big 12 foe the Panthers have faced this year. On Sept. 10, UNI lost 3-2 to Iowa State in the Diadora Classic played in Omaha, Neb.
Junior goalkeeper Heidi O’Mara (1-2) has taken over the starting duties for UNI. O’Mara started the last two contests after junior Krista Thorley started 11 of the first 12 games of the season and allowed 36 goals (3.51 goal-against average). O’Mara has one shutout this season and has allowed 12 goals (2.62 GAA) in nine games played (three starts).
Offensively, junior Jackie Gielau leads the squad with four goals and eight points. Gielau netted the game-winning goal on Friday for the Panthers.
The Panthers return 10 starters from last year’s team that finished 1-16 overall and 0-6 in the MVC (seventh place).
SCOUTING THE CORNHUSKERS
The Sooners are 2-8 lifetime against Nebraska (see pg. 2 for breakdown) with five of the last six games being decided by one goal. Nebraska, who plays at Oklahoma State on Friday, won last year’s meeting, 2-1, in Lincoln. OU won the last game played in Norman, 1-0, on Oct. 24, 2004.
Sophomore goalkeeper Jamie Klages (8-5-3) has played all but 18 minutes in goal this season, starting all 16 games with three shutouts. Klages owns a 1.07 GAA after allowing 18 goals and making 53 saves. As a freshman, Klages started 19 games and defeated OU last year with five saves.
On the offensive side of the field, senior forward Brittany Timko, who was tabbed the Big 12 Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005, leads the Cornhuskers and the Big 12 with 11 goals and 29 points. Additionally, her seven assists is tied with three others for the conference lead. In last year’s game against OU, Timko tallied both of the Cornhuskers’ goals.
In 2005, Nebraska finished 14-8-1 overall and second in the Big 12 (6-3-1). The Cornhuskers return nine starters from that squad that lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
LAST TIME OUT
The Oklahoma Sooners remained in a tie for fifth place after splitting a two-game road trip over the weekend. On Friday, the Sooners won their third consecutive game with a 1-0 shutout of Texas Tech in Lubbock with junior Shana All providing her third game-winning goal of the season. On Sunday at Baylor, All once again sparked the offense with a goal in the seventh minute to tie the game at one apiece, but the Bears’ two first half goals were too much for the Sooners to come back from.
Next week, OU wraps up the regular season on Thursday, Oct. 26 against Missouri State. The game marks the first meeting in the series between the teams. Missouri State is currently 9-6-2 overall and 2-2-1 in the Missouri Valley Conference.
THE LAST FIVE GAMES
Since suffering three consecutive losses, OU has rebounded to post a 3-1-1 mark. The Sooners’ current success can be attributed to the offense which has scored 12 of the team’s 23 goals this season in the last five contests. Ten different Sooners have recorded points in that span (seven goal scorers) and as a team, OU is averaging 12.6 shots and five corner kicks during the last five games (5.09 shots and 4.18 corner kicks in the first 11 games of the season). Below is a look at the Sooners’ offense in the last five games compared to the first 11 games of the year.
EVANS INDUCTED INTO MARYVILLE HALL OF FAME
On Friday, Oct. 13, Oklahoma head coach Randy Evans was one of six individuals inducted into Maryville College’s Wall of Fame (Tenn.). Evans, a soccer standout and member of the class of 1992, joined James Thurston (CC and Track), William Napier (Football), Kandis Schram (Volleyball), Leah Onks-England (Basketball) and team physician Dr. Ken Bell.
On the night of his induction, Evans won his 70th career game as Oklahoma defeated Texas Tech in Lubbock.
In 1988, Evans led the nation in scoring with 28 goals. Evans graduated cum laude from Maryville College in 1991 with a degree in business.
On Oct. 8, OU posted a season-high four goals against Iowa State. The game marked the first four-goal game for the Sooners since Sept. 18, 2005 (W, 4-1 vs. Oral Roberts). Additionally, Sunday’s offensive surge marked the 30th time in the Randy Evans’ era that the Sooners scored three or more goals in a game. In those contests, OU is undefeated at 29-0-1 with the only blemish coming in a 3-3 tie against Texas earlier this year.
MOVING UP THE STANDINGS
After jumping from 10th place in the Big 12 standings to fifth place last week, the Sooners remained in a tie for fifth place with Nebraska. OU and Oklahoma State are the only two teams in the Big 12 with one conference game remaining and Nebraska is the only team with two conference contests left. The rest of the Big 12 still has three conference games remaining in the regular season. Below is a complete look at this week’s standings and schedule.
Fri., Oct. 20
Baylor at Kansas - 3:00 p.m.
Texas Tech at Colorado - 4:00 p.m.
Northern Iowa at Oklahoma - 7:00 p.m.
Nebraska at Oklahoma State - 7:00 p.m.
Missouri at Texas - 7:00 p.m.
Iowa State at Texas A&M - 7:30 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 22
Iowa State at Texas - 12:00 p.m.
Missouri at Texas A&M - 12:00 p.m.
Texas Tech at Kansas - 1:00 p.m.
Nebraska at Oklahoma - 1:00 p.m.
Baylor at Colorado - 2:00 p.m.
Oral Roberts at Oklahoma State - 7:00 p.m.
Click Here for a composite Big 12 schedule.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES
Besides the trip to Hawai’i that saw OU play on Saturday and Monday, the squad has played each game since on either Friday or Sunday. The Sooners have fared significantly better during the Sunday games compared to the Friday night contests. The Oct. 6 win over Missouri was the first of the season for the Sooners on a Friday, which they followed up with a Friday night victory at Texas Tech. Below is a look at that comparison:
LEADING THE WAY
Oklahoma is 3-0 this season when leading the opposition in shots, holding a 69-30 advantage in the three games against Stephen F. Austin, Oral Roberts and Iowa State. The Sooners are 3-7-1 when the opposition holds the edge in shots, with wins over Michigan State, Missouri and Texas Tech and a tie occurring at Texas. In the eight losses this season, OU has been outshot 168-70.
Despite the trouble in leading the shot count, OU has had success with holding the advantage in corner kicks in 2006, topping the opponent in seven of the 13 games (4-2-1 record when leading).
HOME SWEET HOME
Oklahoma, who typically is tough to beat at home, is 5-4 this season but still has three games remaining in 2006 set to be played at John Crain Field. Last year, OU enjoyed its best record at home with a 9-1 mark. OU is 51-30-7 lifetime at home, including a 28-11-4 mark over the last five seasons.
HABIBI EARNS BIG 12 NEWCOMER AWARD
Junior midfielder/forward Audrey Habibi became the second player in OU history to receive the Big 12’s Newcomer of the Week award on Tuesday, Oct. 10 (Lauren MacIver Oct. 1, 2002). She is the second Sooner to receive a Big 12 weekly honor this year (Jennifer Nichols - Defense - Sept. 12). Against Iowa State and Missouri, Habibi, who played two years at Central Oklahoma, made her first and second career starts. On Friday against Missouri, Habibi scored her second career goal and recorded her first career assist on the Sooners’ game-winning goal. Two days later, Habibi followed the performance with two assists against Iowa State on Sunday. The two-assist game against the Cyclones tied a school record as she became the second player to accomplish the feat this season (Kady Kelly) and 11th in OU history.
NATIONAL TELEVISION APPEARANCES
For the second time in the program’s 11-year history, the Oklahoma soccer team was seen live on national television, as aired by ESPNU on Sunday, Oct. 1. The Sooners tied then-No. 10 Texas to improve to 0-1-1 when appearing on television. The Sooners made their national television debut last year in Lincoln, Neb. College Sports Television (CSTV) aired the Oct. 21 contest that saw Nebraska edge Oklahoma 2-1.
Against Stephen F. Austin and Oral Roberts, the Sooners combined to record 55 shots. Included in that stat is the 32 shots fired against the Golden Eagles on Sept. 17. That mark is the fourth highest total in school history behind the following totals:
52 vs. LSU (2-2) on Oct. 3, 1999
40 vs. Drury (8-1) on Sept. 1, 1997
36 vs. Southeast Louisiana (5-0) on Sept. 22, 2001
The Sooners have struggled with first-time opponents this season. OU has already faced five teams in 2006 for the first time during regular or postseason play (Washington, Hawai’i, Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue) and recorded a 1-4 record against them. The Sooners will have a chance to improve upon that mark with first-time opponents Northern Iowa and Missouri State remaining on the schedule.
EVANS VS. NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS
The Sooners are 3-4 this year against teams outside of the Big 12 and still have Northern Iowa and Missouri State remaining. In 2005, OU posted its best non-conference record (8-1, .889 winning percentage) in program history. The last time OU had a losing non-conference record during a season was in 1999, current head coach Randy Evans’ first year.
Evans, now in his eighth season at OU, is 41-20-5 (.660) against non-conference opponents.
Kady Kelly’s goal scored with 26 seconds off the clock in the first half on Sunday against Stephen F. Austin was the second fastest goal scored in OU history and just the third scored in the first minute of a game by a Sooner. Below is a look at the top ten fastest goals in OU history:
00:21 Sept. 6, 2002 - Shannon Wing at Drury
00:26 Sept. 10, 2006 - Kady Kelly vs. Stephen F. Austin
00:54 Aug. 29, 2004 - Allyson Kucera vs. SMU
2:24 Sept. 3, 2000 - Jonette Coquat vs. Colorado College
2:52 Aug. 27, 2000 - Jonette Coquat vs. Oral Roberts
2:55 Sept. 4, 2001 - Logan Womack vs. Oral Roberts
3:05 Oct. 4, 2002 - Krissy Dawson vs. TCU
4:38 Sept. 30, 2001 - Logan Womack at Missouri
4:45 Sept. 9, 1998 - Megan Olsen at Stephen F. Austin
5:02 Oct. 1, 1999 - Heather Martinelli vs. Colorado 5:02
OU SOCCER COMPLEX RENOVATIONS
The University of Oklahoma Athletics Department has completed Phase II of the OU Soccer Complex, a $4.5 million renovation. The addition of a state-of-the-art press box and grandstand is joined by a multi-use building located between the soccer complex and the Headington Family Tennis Center at the corner of Chautauqua Avenue and Imhoff Road.
Phase II construction began in November of 2005 and the new facility is comprised of spaces for student-athletes, coaches and fans of both soccer and tennis.
The OU soccer and tennis clubhouse features a training room, locker rooms, video and conference rooms, team facilities, and equipment, laundry and other support services.
The press box is equipped with camera decks and a media level complete with the latest technologies. The attractive conference room/meeting area serves as a versatile location for team meetings and activities, and will be used to host special guests, parents, donors and media.
In addition to increasing the seating capacity to 3,500, the complex also includes concessions, rest rooms and a ticket booth to give fans a complete family atmosphere for watching Division I soccer.
MACIVER JOINS COACHING STAFF
Lauren MacIver joined the OU coaching staff in August for the 2006 season as a student assistant. MacIver (2002-2005) finished her playing career as the program’s all-time assists leader with 18. A senior captain last season, she led all Sooners in 2005 with eight goals and eight assists (single season record) en route to being named to the NSCAA and Soccer Buzz All-District Second Teams. MacIver’s senior year also produced First Team All-Big 12 honors, marking the second time in school history that a Sooner held that distinction in soccer.