Aug. 26, 2012
NORMAN, Okla. -- The second meeting in the series between Oklahoma (2-1-1) and Vanderbilt (1-1-1) did not disappoint on Sunday, as the two teams walked off the field in a 1-1 tie after 110 minutes of hard-fought soccer on a hot and humid afternoon at John Crain Field.
The double overtime game was the second for the Sooners this week after dropping a heartbreaker to another SEC school, LSU, on Monday with two minutes left in the game. OU already has two overtime games under its belt in 2012 after playing every game in regulation a season ago. The Sooners last win in overtime came against a ranked Texas A&M team in the 2010 Big 12 Championship on Nov. 5.
Vanderbilt took the game’s first shot after 15 seconds ticked off the clock but a Kelsey Devonshire save and a goal from OU’s Samantha Howell gave OU the early momentum. Howell’s goal, her first of the season, was set up after Annalisa Hall flicked an assist over the Vandy defense that was on point for the goal-scoring header.
OU took a 1-0 lead into halftime and came out firing in the second half with three shots in the first five minutes, but it was Vanderbilt that capitalized on a Sooner defensive mistake to tie the game at one apiece. Cheyna Williams, who fired the first shot of the day just 15 seconds in the game, finally broke through on one of her game-high seven shots. The goal in the 58th minute was one of six fired on goal by Williams.
“We did the hard part and got ahead, and obviously one moment of lapse (on defense) and they punished us,” said OU Head Coach Matt Potter. “I thought, in terms of our own performance, it showed that we have work to do.”
Vanderbilt fired 11 shots after halftime and finished the game with a 16-6 advantage in that category. The Commodores also had five corner kicks to the Sooners’ three, but the defense stepped up to preserve the tie.
“It wasn’t our best performance, it wasn’t our smartest performance, but at the end of the day we found a way to get a result. That’s a positive for this group right now.”
Devonshire saved five of Williams’s shots and three more to tie a season high with eight saves. After a busy weekend, Devonshire ranks second all-time at OU with 312 career saves, second only to Catherine Wade’s 345.
“She continues to have the reward for putting in the hard work and the reward for her commitment,” added Potter. “She shows up with a great attitude and she is having the senior season that she deserves. We wish she wasn’t quite so busy at times, but that’s okay. When you beat everybody else, you still have to get by her and she performed magnificently again today.”
The Sooners conclude the current four-game homestand against Vanderbilt on Sunday. The Commodores won the only other meeting in the series with a 3-1 decision in Nashville during the 2009 season.
Oklahoma hits the road for the first time in 2012 with a trip to Las Vegas, Nev. OU will battle UNLV on Aug. 31 and remain on the Las Vegas campus to take on Northern Arizona on Sept. 2. The Sooners and Running Rebels have never met on the soccer field while OU leads the series with Northern Arizona, 1-0. The Sooners topped the Lumberjacks 3-0 on the road in 2001.