Aug. 30, 2009
NORMAN, Okla. -- Whitney Palmer tied a school record with three goals on Sunday as the OU soccer team topped Tulsa, 3-1, and recorded its fourth win of the season in as many games. The junior forward is the second player in school history to record a hat trick, tying the mark set by Logan Womack, the program’s all-time leading goal scorer, in 2002.
The loss was the first of the year for Tulsa and the sixth all-time to Oklahoma, which played in front of a crowd of 713 fans on Sunday night at John Crain Field. The Sooners and Golden Hurricane met eight times all-time, but not since 2005, and OU has come out on top in six of the meetings.
“I was happy with the win and the fan support that was on hand tonight,” said OU Head Coach Nicole Nelson. “That was a very good Tulsa team and it was good for our team to rally after going down 1-0 early. Each game we have won, we’ve won in a different manner. We’ve scored early, not scored in the first half, came right back and scored to start the second half, and it was good for us to have to come from behind.”
The Sooners were forced to rally for the first time this season as Tulsa’s Hannah Taylor scored the first goal allowed by the OU defense in 2009. The score came in the fifth minute but was just one of two Tulsa’s two shots in the first half.
Palmer went to work at the 34:20 mark with her second goal of the season as Michelle Alexander set her up for a header on the far side of Tulsa’s goal.
Just three minutes later, Palmer recorded the second multi-goal game of her career (2007 vs. Oral Roberts) as the 2-0 lead was made possible with another assist from Alexander.
Midway through the second half, it appeared that Palmer would easily record the hat trick as she collected a loose ball in the Tulsa box, but her shot went off the right post.
Palmer redeemed herself with just two minutes remaining in the game after Dria Hampton was taken down in the box by a Tulsa defender and OU was awarded a penalty kick. The third and final goal for Palmer came on her second career penalty kick attempt and just like the first, she found the back of the net.
“Whitney is a great finisher and she doesn’t miss many opportunities,” added Nelson. “To be fair to her, we took her too far away from the goal in the past couple of games. So putting her back in a position where she could receive the ball up top, helped her out a lot tonight. She is calm, cool and collected on PKs (penalty kicks). So there was no doubt who was taking the kick and the fact that she was able to get a hat trick was icing on the cake.”
Palmer led OU with nine shots, five of which were on goal, and the Sooners outshot the Golden Hurricane 29-12. The Sooners took a 2-1 lead into halftime after firing 15 shots, 10 on goal, and recording six corner kicks. OU finished with a season-high nine corner kicks to Tulsa’s three. Hampton added six shots (four on goal) and Jordan White and Kelsey Kraft each added two blasts on the Tulsa goal (four overall apiece).
Freshman goalkeeper Kelsey Devonshire improved to 4-0 on the season despite allowing her first goal of the season and made a season-high five saves.
“We created some great opportunities tonight, true goal-scoring opportunities,” said Nelson. “I was very happy with what we put together in the attack and we were able to see some things tonight that we still need to work on defensively.
OU hits the road for the first time this season with a weekend trip to Tennessee. On Friday, Sept. 4, the Sooners will travel to Middle Tennessee for a 7 p.m. game in Murfreesboro. On Sunday, Sept. 6, OU takes on Vanderbilt in Nashville at 1 p.m.