Sept. 6, 2009
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Sooner soccer team came out on the losing end during a battle of unbeatens on Sunday at Vanderbilt, falling 3-1. The Commodores improved to 5-0 on the season after rallying with three unanswered goals against Oklahoma (4-1-1).
"I want to compliment Vanderbilt for a good win," said OU Head Coach Nicole Nelson. "They are a solid team and the most effective that we have seen this year in terms of creating and capitalizing goal-scoring opportunities."
Whitney Palmer, the reigning Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week, put OU on top 1-0 in the first half at the 12:40 mark but that was the last time the Sooners were able to find the back of the net despite seven shots on goal. Palmer's unassisted goal was the Plano, Texas, native's Big 12 leading sixth of the season and the 20th of her career.
Vanderbilt immediately countered and received a goal from Molly Kinsella two minutes later. The Commodores held a 6-4 edge in shots and 3-1 advantage in corner kicks headed into halftime.
The momentum stayed in the opposition's favor after intermission as the Sooners fell behind early in the second half, surrendering two goals in the first 15 minutes. OU was without two starters in the second half after losing defender Lauren Alkek and midfielder Tiana Dickson to injuries.
"I was happy with what we were able to put together in the attack and our organization in our back line the first half," added Nelson. "However, I think the injuries and the double overtime game on Friday caught up to us in the second half. Our team showed tremendous fight and we received some good minutes from our bench."
Unlike the last two games where it fell behind, OU was unable to find the back of the net and avoid its first loss of the year. Last Sunday, OU rallied for a 3-1 victory after falling behind 1-0 to Tulsa. On Friday, the Sooners tied the game with MIddle Tennessee at two goals apiece with less than a minute remaining in regulation before tying the Blue Raiders in Murfreesboro.
The OU defense gave up a season-high three goals and freshman goalkeeper Kelsey Devonshire made a season-high seven saves after facing nine Vanderbilt corner kicks and 20 shots in the game, 11 on goal.
Palmer led OU with five of the team's 12 shots in the game. Three of Palmer's shots were on goal as she was joined by teammate Dria Hampton, who also had three shots on target.
The Sooners return to action next weekend in Baton Rouge, La., against Louisiana State. OU concludes its current three-game road trip at LSU on Friday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. The Sooners are returning the trip the Tigers made to Norman in 2008. LSU won that meeting 4-0 and owns a 2-0-1 lead in the all-time series. OU has not played in Baton Rouge since 1996 (L, 2-0), the first year of the program.