Oct. 30, 2009
NORMAN, Okla. -- The OU soccer team and visiting Baylor played 110 minutes of scoreless action on Friday night at John Crain Field during a 0-0 double overtime tie in the regular season finale.
“I felt like our fight and our spirit was good tonight,” said OU Head Coach Nicole Nelson. “We had some opportunities that we didn’t put away and that is disappointing. That is one of the things all year that has really been our Achilles’ heal ... we create goal-scoring opportunities and we don’t finish them.”
The decision ended the 2009 season for the Sooners (7-10-2 overall, 2-7-1) who more than doubled the win total from a year ago during head coach Nicole Nelson’s first year at the helm. Baylor improved to 8-5-5 and 3-4-3.
“We are obviously disappointed anytime we do not make the postseason,” added Nelson. “Our goal is not only to be in the postseason (Big 12), but to go deep in the NCAA Tournament. We are disappointed in the overall finish but I feel very confident in the strides we made this year.
“We won some big games and we were able to play at a high level against some of the top teams in the nation in USC, beating Texas A&M at home and LSU to name a few. I think the experience we got from playing those teams and winning a couple of those was big for our program.”
Friday night marked the third overtime game of the season for OU, which recorded a 0-1-2 mark in those decisions. In addition, the scoreless tie marked the eighth game this season in which the outcome was decided by one goal or less (2-4-2).
The Sooners fired 19 shots on the night opposite Baylor’s 16 and had a season-high 11 corner kicks (one shy of tying a school record). Whitney Palmer, Lauren Alkek, Dria Hampton, Jordan White and Katharine Nutman led OU with three shots apiece and combined to produce six shots on goal. Baylor’s Lotto Smith led her team with six shots and had one of the Bears’ six shots on goal.
OU freshman goalkeeper Kelsey Devonshire registered her sixth shutout of the season with six saves after entering the night tied for second in the Big 12 Conference. Devonshire’s efforts this year produced one of the best by a Sooner goalkeeper as her six shutouts ranks tied for the third most in a single season.
The Sooners started off the 2009 campaign undefeated in the first four games with a 3-0-1 mark, but season-ending injuries to Sage Coralli and Kelsey Kraft led to several OU freshmen seeing significant playing time.
“We had a lot of young players receiving invaluable minutes,” added Nelson. “We had as many as six freshmen starting for us. The minutes that those girls played were invaluable. We are excited about the development we have made as a team and look forward to playing a full spring (season) with them and bringing in another great class. I feel very confident about the future and what it holds.”
The game was the final in the careers of seniors Ashley Farrand, Ashlee Coleman and Kate Marr, who were honored prior to the game in a ceremony.
“We will miss that group of seniors and wish them the best of luck in everything they do,” said Nelson.
With the exception of Farrand, the Sooners will return at least nine players that started 10 or more games in 2009, including leading-goal scorer, Whitney Palmer, who finished with 15 goals in 2009, the nation’s seventh-best total heading into Friday.
“Getting her back for another year is a coach’s dream,” added Nelson. “Whitney is not only an incredible goal scorer and an incredible athlete, she is one of the hardest working and most talented players I have ever worked with.”