OU Opens Big 12 Play Friday

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
SEPTEMBER 27, 2007

Sept. 27, 2007

>> Week 5 Game Notes (PDF)

NORMAN, Okla. -- The OU soccer team (4-2-2) will hit the road for the third time in the last five weekends this Friday to open Big 12 play at Nebraska (3-2-3) on Sept. 28.  The game is slated for 4:30 p.m. at Nebraska Soccer Field. 

On Sunday, Sept. 30, OU will battle Iowa State (4-1-2) at 1 p.m. at the ISU Soccer Complex.

Live stats will be available for both games this weekend on the opponent's respective web sites.

SoonerSports.com visited practice on Tuesday to discuss this weekend's opponents with OU head coach Randy Evans.

Tuesday Practice-Report
Video  Coach Evans breaks down Nebraska and Iowa State.

Oklahoma (4-2-2) vs. Nebraska (3-2-3)
Friday, Sept. 28 - 4:30 p.m.
Lincoln, Neb. - Nebraska Soccer Field

Nebraska opens Big 12 play this weekend against the Sooners after tying then-No. 12 Florida, 1-1, and topping Saint Louis, 5-1, last weekend in Lincoln.  The Cornhuskers are 3-0-2 at home this season.

Nebraska is outscoring its opponents, 12-8, and is 1-2-1 in the last four contests after starting the year at 2-0-2.  Four different Cornhuskers lead the team with four goals apiece, led by juniors Sara Raber and Selenia Iacchelli, who are tied for first with five points each. 

The Huskers return nine letterwinners and three starters from a 2006 squad that finished 10-7-3 overall and sixth in the Big 12 with a 4-5-0 mark.  Nebraska was picked to finish sixth in 2007 by the league's coaches in the preseason poll ahead of Oklahoma. 

Nebraska leads the all-time series, 9-2, and won last year's meeting in Norman, 1-0.  Six of the last seven meetings have been decided by one goal, including the Sooners' two wins in the series; Oct. 24, 2004 in Norman (OU 1, NU 0) and Oct. 15, 2000 in Lincoln (OU 2, NU 1).

Oklahoma (4-2-2) vs. Iowa State (4-1-2)
Sunday, Sept. 30 - 1 p.m.
Ames, Iowa - ISU Soccer Complex

Iowa State will begin Big 12 play this Friday at home against No. 16 Oklahoma State.  The Cyclones defeated Nevada, 2-1, and tied UNLV, 0-0, last weekend in the Rebel Classic.   The Cyclones are 2-0 at home this season.

ISU is outscoring its opponents, 10-5, and is led by junior forward Leslie Hil (six points).  Sophomore goalie Ann Gleason, who is tied for the Big 12 lead with three shutouts, has held ISU's opposition to three goals in the last five games.

The Cyclones return 10 letterwinners  and one starter from last year's team that finished 11th in the Big 12 with a 6-14 overall record and a 2-8 mark in conference play.  In the preseason, ISU was picked to finish 11th in the Big 12.

Iowa State lost last year's meeting in Norman, 4-0, but lead the all-time series, 7-2-2.  The Sooners have never defeated the Cyclones in Ames, but tied them, 2-2, on Oct. 3, 2003.

Tiana DicksonLAST TIME OUT
OU finished second in the Sooner Invitational in Norman over the weekend.  The Sooners opened the tournament with a 1-0 victory over previously unbeaten North Texas on Friday.  On Sunday, the Sooners recorded another shutout, but tied Middle Tennessee, 0-0, after double overtime.

The Sooners return to Norman for the Big 12 home opener against Baylor on Thursday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m.  On Sunday, Oct. 7, OU will host No. 3 Texas A&M at 1 p.m.  Tickets are available through the OU Ticket Office online at SoonerSports.com or by calling 800-456-4668.  Thursday's game marks $.50 hot dog and coke night and Sunday's game will be followed by an autograph session.

After four weeks of action, Oklahoma sits seventh in the overall standings.  OU's 16 goals, 12 assists and 44 points all rank sixth in the Big 12.  Defensively, OU ranks fourth in goals allowed (6), goals-against average (0.70) and saves (40) and its four shutouts only trail Texas A&M and Oklahoma State, both with five.

After holding spots in the NSCAA and Soccer Buzz Central Region polls for the last two weeks, the Sooners fell out of the coaches' poll (NSCAA).  OU is ranked No. 13 this week by Soccer Buzz.  The Sooners did not appear in either of the polls during week one or the preseason. 

The Sooners are 0-1-2 in overtime games this season, having faced extra time in three of the last five contests.  The total already surpasses the amount of overtime games OU played last season (1).    Of the 209 games in OU history, OU has played 39 of them in overtime with a 10-16-13 record.  In the Randy Evans' era, OU is 9-11-13 in overtime, including a 4-2-4 mark in the last 10 OT games.

Freshman forward Whitney Palmer has scored four game-winning goals this season, a mark that is tied for the Big 12 lead.  Overall, Palmer's team-leading five goals this season ranks sixth in the conference and she also ranks 10th in points (10).  After scoring the decisive goal against William and Mary, Palmer was honored by the conference as the Big 12's Newcomer of the Week on Sept. 11, a career first. 

In her first season in Norman, freshman Whitney Palmer is already making her mark in the OU record books.  Palmer's four game-winning goals is tied for the third best mark in a single season and she also is tied for fifth on the career list in the same category.  In addition, only three other freshmen in OU history have scored more goals than Palmer's five (Logan Womack - 7 in 2000, Jonette Coquat - 7 in 1998 and Heather Morrison - 8 in 1997).

Redshirt freshman Tara Macdonald made her first career start in the Sooners' 1-0 win on Friday and recorded the shutout.  She is the first OU goalie in school history to record a shutout in her first career start.  Two days later, the Austin, Texas, native followed that performance by keeping Middle Tennessee scoreless for 110 minutes for her second career shutout.  Macdonald has not allowed a goal in her 240-plus minutes this season.

Oklahoma has struggled in Big 12 openers with a 3-7 record since it began Big 12 play in 1997.  The 2-0 win over Texas on Sept. 25, 2005 was OU's last win in a Big 12 opener.

Oklahoma finished second in the Sooner Invitational with a 1-0-1 record and freshman Tara Macdonald was named the tournament's defensive MVP after recording two shutouts.  Freshmen Kelsey Allison and Whitney Palmer were also named to the all-tournament team.

OU has not lost at home in eight straight contests (7-0-1) dating back to Sept. 24, 2006, when it suffered a 1-0 loss to Kansas.  In that eight-game span, OU has outscored its opponents 26-3, including a 13-1 advantage this season.  The eight-game unbeaten streak is tied for second all-time at Oklahoma behind a 9-0 span set between Oct. 24, 2004 and Oct. 2, 2005).  The Sooners were also unbeaten in two, eight-game spans from Nov. 2, 2001 to Oct. 11, 2002 (7-0-1) and from Sept. 10, 2000 through Oct. 19, 2001 (8-0).  Under head coach Randy Evans, the Sooners are 48-21-6 (.680) at home.

After eight games in 2007, eight different Sooners have contributed to the 16 goal total.  In addition, nine Sooners have tallied assists.  In 2006, OU scored 30 goals and had 11 different goal scorers (10 on assists).

In his ninth year at OU, head coach Randy Evans is 47-22-7 (.664) against non-conference opponents. The Sooners finished 2006 with a 5-4 mark against teams outside of the Big 12.  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 was during the 1999 season, Evans' first year.

Senior goalkeeper Jenny Nichols recorded her first shutout of the season against Virginia Commonwealth on Sept. 8.  It marked the 15th of Nichols career, a mark that ranks second all-time at OU behind Catherine Wade's 18.  Earlier this season, Nichols split time on Aug. 31 with redshirt freshman Tara Macdonald during the Sooners' first shutout of 2007.  Overall, the Sooners have held opponents to one goal or less in 28 games under Nichols in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Along with freshman Whitney Palmer, senior goalkeeper Jenny Nichols was also honored by the league office on Sept. 11.  Nichols was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week after limiting William and Mary to one goal on Sept. 7 and shutting out VCU on Sept. 9 in 110 minutes of action.  The award was the third in Nichols' career (Sept. 12, 2006 and Aug. 29, 2005) and it also marked the second time in program history that two Sooners were honored in the same week (Oct. 1, 2002 - Lauren MacIver, newcomer, and Logan Womack, offensive).

Oklahoma opened up the season with an 8-0 win over Alabama A&M and a 4-1 win over Oral Roberts. Under head coach Randy Evans, the Sooners are 32-0-1 when scoring three or more goals.  The lone tie in that span came against Texas on Oct. 6, 2006 in Austin.  The Sooners eclipsed the three-goal mark on two occasions this season (3 in 2006).

The Sooners set a program record for most for goals scored in a season opener in the 8-0 win over Alabama A&M on Aug. 31.  OU broke the record established on Sept. 1, 1997, when it opened the year with a six-goal performance against Tulsa.

The win over Alabama A&M was also largest margin of victory in school history.  The previous high came during the Sooners' 8-1 victory over Drury on Sept. 1, 1997. 

Friday's scoring total also tied a school record for goals scored, also established in the 1997 game against Drury.

The Sooners also set a school record for most goals scored in a half with five in the first half.  OU scored four goals in one half on five other occasions, most recently in 2005 vs. ORU.

Senior Audri Habibi (Alabama A&M) and freshman Whitney Palmer (ORU) each tallied two-goal games in 2007.  Habibi scored both her goals during the Alabama A&M game and Palmer scored twice against Oral Roberts.  Kady Kelly (2003-06) was the last Sooner to score two goals in a game.  Kelly scored twice against Stephen F. Austin on Sept. 10, 2006. 

The 2007 class, which has been labeled by the OU coaching staff as the program's top recruiting class, produced in the first weekend of the season.  Five of the freshmen (Lauren Alkek, Kelsey Allison, Ashley Bolden, Tiana Dickson and Whitney Palmer) started the season opener and four freshmen (Allison, Dickson, Palmer and Caitlin Stojkovic) tallied goals in the game.   Overall,  OU has 14 freshmen on the roster and 11 of them (three redshirts) played in the opener.

Freshmen Lauren Alkek and Whitney Palmer were selected to U.S. National Select Women's Team (Under-23) as announced by the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA) on July 9.   The two Sooners were part of a group of 32 members vying for spots on the national team.

The Sooners return eight starters and 14 letterwinners from the 2006 squad that finished the year at 8-11-1.  In addition, four players return with three years of starting experience in Shana All, Lauren Harris, Allyson Kucera and Jenny Nichols.  Kucera has started the most games (57) than any other Sooner on the roster prior to the 2007 season.

The OU Athletics Department completed Phase II of the OU Soccer Complex, a $4.5 million renovation last season.   The addition of a state-of-the-art press box and grandstand, which increases seating capacity to 3,500, is joined by a multi-use building located between the soccer complex and the Headington Family Tennis Center.

Video Click here to take a tour of the facility with head coach Randy Evans.

A live web cast will provided for select games this season and will be available on Oklahoma All-Access, SoonerSports.com's paid site.  Lives stats will also be available for free for all of OU's home games and a portion of the road contests.  Both links can be accessed on soccer's schedule page. The All-Access purchase helps support OU Athletics and memberships are available monthly for $9.95 or annually for $99.95.  Below is a look at the remaining schedule:

Thursday, Oct. 4 
Baylor - 7 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 19 
Texas Tech - 7 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 26 
Colorado - 7 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 28 
Texas - 1 p.m.


0 - Tara Macdonald - Redshirt freshman goalie shut out North Texas in first career start ... Also blanked Middle Tennessee in second start and has not allowed a goal in 240-plus minutes of action this season ... Made first career appearance during the season opener and combined with Jenny Nichols for the first shutout of the season.

1 - Jenny Nichols - Started season opener at goalkeeper ... Recorded her 15th career shutout against VCU ... Combined with Tara Macdonald for the first shutout of the season vs. Alabama A&M ... Recorded season-high eight saves against VCU and Long Beach State ... Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 11, 2007 (third of career) ...  Second all-time at OU with 15 career shutouts.

2 - Ashley Farrand - Started all eight games of the 2007 season ... Made the most starts (13) than any other freshman last season ... Ranked fourth on the club with three assists in 2006.

3 - Helen Ajufo - Made first appearance of the season against North Texas ...  Also saw time vs. Middle Tennessee.

4 - Ashley Bolden - One of four freshmen to start the first eight games of the season.

5 - Tiana Dickson - Scored first goal of career against Alabama A&M on Aug. 31 ... One of four freshmen to start the first eight games of the season ... Sister of former OU softball All-American Norelle Dickson.

6 - Lauren Alkek - Named to the U-23 U.S. National Select Team in July ... Started first two games of the season ...  Missed last six games with right knee sprain.

7 - Audri Habibi - One of two Sooners to score two goals in a game this season (Alabama A&M) ... Recorded five points (two goals and an assist) against Alabama A&M  ... Big 12 Newcomer of the Week on Oct. 10, 2006.

8 - Whitney Palmer - Tied for the Big 12 lead with four game-winning goals ... Leads the team with five goals and ranks sixth in the Big 12 ... Scored first goal of career against Alabama A&M on Aug. 31 ... One of two Sooners to score two goals in a game this season (Oral Roberts) ... One of four freshmen to start the first eight games of the season ... Named to the U-23 U.S. National Select Team in July.

9 - Kelsey Allison - Scored first goal of career against Alabama A&M on Aug. 31 ... One of four freshmen to start the first eight games of the season.

11 - Shana All - Started every game of the 2007 season ... Leads OU with three assists in 2007 along with Colleen Keester ... Three-year starter who ranks fifth in OU history with 13 assists and fifth with four game-winning goals.

12 - Lauren Harris - Senior captain ... Started every game of the 2007 season and assisted on first goal of the year against Alabama A&M ... Three-year starter with 62 career starts ... 10 career assists ranks sixth in OU history ... Moved to defense in the spring after playing in the midfield the previous three years.

13 - Caitlin Stojkovic - Scored first goal of career against Alabama A&M on Aug. 31 ...  Made first start against William & Mary and has played in every game ... Redshirted her freshman season at South Carolina.

14 - Kate Leyendecker - Tied for third on the team with five points and two goals ... Scored a goal off the bench in each of the first two games ... Recorded first career assist against Alabama A&M ... Played in nine games as a freshman in 2006 ... Scored lone goal of 2006 against Northern Iowa.

Tenesha Duncan16 - Tenesha Duncan - Second on the team with three goals scored ... Has come off the bench in every game ... Senior's 10 career goals ranks is tied for eighth place all-time at OU  ...  Played in 49 career games (17 starts) but limited in 2006 and 2004 with injuries (knee and concussion).

17 - Kate Marr - Came off the bench in season opener ... Made two starts and played in 16 games in 2006.
18 - Allyson Kucera - Started every game of the 2007 season ... Senior captain ... Three-year starter who leads the current roster with 10 career goals with Tenesha Duncan, total tied for eighth in OU history ...  Leads the team with 65 career starts.

19 - Colleen Keester - Second on the team with two assists ... Recorded the 12th two-assist game in program history in season opener, tying a school record ... Senior with 62 games played in the midfield and up top ... Made first career start last season and started seven games overall.

20 - Charla Baker - Sophomore scored first career goal against Alabama A&M ... Saw time in one game against Northern Iowa in 2006.

21 - Brianne Frost - Freshman with six games played off the bench in 2007.

22 - Claire West - Freshman defender came off the bench against Alabama A&M, VCU and Middle Tennessee.

24 - Katie Corbitt - Started every game in 2007 ... Two-year starter on defense with 45 games played and 34 starts ... 2006 Academic All-Big 12 first team member.

25 - Ashley Mumma - Freshman defender made first career start against North Texas on defense ... Also started against Middle Tennessee and came off the bench against Alabama A&M, VCU and Cal State Fullerton.

26 - Ashlee Coleman - Redshirt freshman made first appearance in season opener.

44 - Traci Dickenson - Junior played in season opener against Alabama A&M and against Middle Tennessee ... Also lettered in softball over the last two seasons and was an All-Region and All-Big 12 honoree at 2B in 2007.




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