NORMAN, Okla. Oklahoma senior midfielder Samantha Faulkner will script her own online journal at SoonerSports.com for the 2004 season. Faulkner will share her experiences with Sooner fans as she captains the OU soccer team this season.
The Sooners (6-6-3 overall, 2-5-0 Big 12) close out the road portion of the 2004 slate on Friday at Colorado (10-4-2 overall, 3-3-1 Big 12) at 4 p.m. (CDT).
Last weekend, the Sooners suffered losses at the hands of Iowa State (2-1) and Kansas (3-0). Freshman Allyson Kucera scored the Sooners’ only goal of the weekend, her fourth tally of the season. Now in 10th place in the Big 12 standings, OU needs a couple of wins to close out the season in order to make its fourth Big 12 Tournament appearance in the last five years. Although 11 teams compete in women’s soccer in the Big 12, only the top eight squads will advance to the Big 12 Conference Tournament on Nov. 3-7 at Blossom Stadium in San Antonio, Texas. The Sooners trail the eighth spot, held by Missouri, by three points.
Oklahoma will play Nebraska (11-5-0 overall, 5-2-0 Big 12) on Sunday at John Crain Field at 1 p.m. The two last met in Norman during the 2001 season with Nebraska besting OU, 2-0. The Cornhuskers play at Oklahoma State on Friday.
This is the eighth installment of Samantha's journal. There is a link at the bottom of the page so you can submit questions for Samantha to reply to in her next entry.
Journal No. 8 - Oct. 21, 2004
We obviously were not very pleased with our two losses against Iowa State and Kansas. We lacked focus in the Iowa State game and we tried to fight back in the second half, but we had already dug ourselves a big hole. However, towards the end of the weekend we showed some good things with our team and not everything looked bad. We dominated possession in the second half of the Kansas game and showed some brilliant stuff on the field. We just had some mental lapses which caused us to give up some goals. It was a tough weekend overall, but we are trying to learn from it and move on. This weekend coming up are must win games. I know I’ve said that for the past three weeks, but our backs are up against the wall. We have to win one of the games this weekend. Then we have to beat Oklahoma State in order to go to the Big 12 Tournament. We are definitely concentrating and working on staying focused for 90 minutes each game.
How would you describe the team’s attitude at this point in the season?
Beth from Norman, Okla.
Considering all the losses and obstacles we have had to overcome, I feel we are all still very positive. We do show things in practice and in the games that prove we are a good team. Although we have lost some key players, we still have the ability to accomplish the goals we have set out for ourselves. It’s just going to be tougher. We all recognized the fact that we have to come together as a team and work our hardest every time we are on the field.
What do you think this team has to do in order to make the Big 12 Tournament after last weekend?
Adrian from Tulsa, Okla.
Literally, we have to win two more games. We have to produce goals. We have to stay focused and not give up goals.
Your team has played a lot of tough competition this year and lost a couple of tough games. What is the best team you have faced this year and why?
Craig from Cleveland County
It would be a toss up between Texas A&M and Kansas. Texas A&M has a lot of talented individuals on their team. Although we played to their (A&M) level and proved to be as good if not better than them, they showed a great deal of determination to come back and score in the last few minutes of the game to beat us. Kansas is a well-rounded team. They are composed and can possess the ball really well. You can’t take any of them lightly because they are going to score if you give them the chance.
What do you do to mentally prepare yourself before games?
Libby from Salt Lake City, Utah
I try to go through what my responsibilities are on the field in my head and think of what I need to do to make the team successful. I mentally picture the game and create certain situations in my head to prepare myself for the formation they play.
How are you able to keep up with all your classes when you guys are on the road so much?
Can you even fit in homework on the road?
Annie from Norman, Okla.
It’s kind of hard, but with traveling so much we have time. Whether we are riding a bus for hours or waiting at the airport, there actually is a lot of time available to work on schoolwork. If we need a computer we can check out a laptop from the Athletics Department and return it when we get back. The only time it’s kind of hard is if you need the Internet. Getting school work done is really not that bad though if you don’t get distracted from hanging out with your teammates. However, it’s hard to do because I’d rather be with my friends than sitting in a hotel room doing school stuff.
We are off to Colorado. Hope to see you Sunday against Nebraska. Thanks for the support!