Soccer Starts Big 12 Play at Colorado

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
SEPTEMBER 25, 2008
 OKlahoma (1-7) at No. 18 Colorado (7-1-1, 1-0) and Texas Tech (5-2-1, 0-1)
 Game 9  Friday, Sept. 26 at 5 p.m. (CT) vs. Colorado
 Location  Boulder, Colo.  |  Prentup Field (Capacity: 2,000)
 Game 10  Sunday, Sept. 28 at 1 p.m. vs. Texas Tech
 Location  John Walker Soccer Complex
 Internet  Live Stats on Sunday
 Game Info  Game Notes (PDF) | 2008 Media Guide

NORMAN, Okla. -- The Sooners tackle the second portion of the 2008 schedule this weekend as they begin conference play against No. 18 Colorado (7-1-1, 1-0 Big 12) and Texas Tech (5-2-1, 0-1 Big 12). 

OU will look to snap its current five-game losing streak against its second straight ranked opponent,  Colorado, on Friday, Sept. 26 at 5 p.m. (CT) at Prentup Field in Boulder, Colo.

The Sooners will then head to Lubbock, Texas, for a 1 p.m. showdown with the Red Raiders at the John Walker Soccer Complex on Sunday, Sept. 28.

Fans can follow the action live from Boulder on Friday via the internet with live stats and a live webcast (fee required) accessed on  Live stats will be available for Sunday’s contest from Lubbock.

The No. 18 Buffaloes are 6-0 since tying Florida in the season opener and falling to Denver in game two.  Most recently, CU topped Gonzaga, 1-0, and Fresno State, 4-1, last weekend at home.  Colorado and Texas Tech are the only Big 12 teams with a conference game played.  The Buffaloes topped the Red Raiders, 3-2, on Aug. 29 in Lubbock.

The Buffaloes return 13 letterwinners and nine starters from the 2007 squad that was 10-8-4 overall and finished seventh in the Big 12 with a 5-5 mark.  Colorado, which was picked to finish fifth this season by the conference coaches, is led by junior Nikki Marshall.  The forward led CU in scoring in each of the last two seasons and is atop the goals’ column again with five in 2008.

CU leads the all-time series with OU, 7-4-1.  The Sooners and Buffaloes’ contest in 2007 in Norman was decided in overtime.  Colorado won that meeting, 2-1, its third straight in the series since OU’s last victory, a 2-1 decision on Oct. 2, 2005 in Norman.  The Sooners are 1-4 all-time in Boulder with the only win coming during the 2000 season (OU won 1-0).

Texas Tech went 2-0 last weekend at home with wins over Northwestern State, 5-1, and Oral Roberts, 4-0.  The Red Raiders are 5-2-1 in 2008 with a pair of one-goal losses versus Colorado and Arizona.  Texas Tech plays at No. 12 Oklahoma State on Friday.

The Red Raiders, picked seventh in the preseason coaches’ poll,  return 15 letterwinners and nine starters from last season’s team that finished 7-8-2 overall and 5-4-1 in the Big 12 (fifth).   Junior defender Brittney Harrison leads the Texas Tech offense and ranks second in the Big 12 with six goals in 2008. 
OU leads the all-time series, 6-4-1, and has not suffered a loss to Texas Tech since it won the first four meetings (1997-2000).  The Sooners tied the Red Raiders, 0-0, last season in a double overtime match in Norman.  OU is 2-2 all-time at Texas Tech.

The midfielder doubled her assist total from her freshman year in game three this season but has been held without a point in the last five games.  Allison will look to spark the Sooner offense as it begins conference play this weekend. 

The Sooners return to Norman to host their final non-conference opponent of the season, Oregon (5-2-1), on Friday, Oct. 3.  The following day, OU will head to College Station, Texas, and prepare for an Oct. 5 meeting with No. 7 Texas A&M (7-1).

No. 11 LSU’s high-scoring offense proved to be too much for the OU soccer team last Friday as it dropped a 4-0 decision to the Tigers at John Crain Field.  The Sooners were idle last Sunday.

While OU has already played the likes of Colorado College, Memphis, Ole Miss and LSU, the schedule only gets tougher in terms of playing ranked opponents.  The loss on Sept. 19 against then-No. 11 LSU was the first of six ranked teams the Sooners will face over the final 12 games.  The other five opponents currently in the top 25 include; No. 18 Colorado, No. 7 Texas A&M, No. 25 Kansas, No. 10 Texas and No. 12 Oklahoma State.

The Sooners are 0-9-1 in their last 10 games against ranked competition, with nine of those contests against Big 12 competition (lost 4-0 to then-No. 11 LSU on Sept. 19).  OU tied then-No. 10 Texas on the road on Oct. 1, 2006 and its last win against a ranked opponent was also against Texas.  OU topped the No. 21 Longhorns, 2-0, on Sept. 25, 2005 in Norman.

Senior captain Katie Corbitt has played in more games (64) than any other Sooner on the 2008 roster.  Friday’s game will mark the Highland Village, Texas, native’s 44th consecutive start in a Sooner uniform.

Sophomore forward Whitney Palmer’s goal against Ole Miss on Sept. 14 was the 10th of her career as she became the third fastest Sooner to accomplish the feat (tied with Jonette Coquat-26 games).  Palmer is one of five Sooners to score 10 career goals in 30 games or less and she only trails Heather Morrison (20 games) and Logan Womack (23 games).  Palmer is also one of 12 Sooners to score 10 or more goals in her career.

The Sooners' first victory of the season also came during their first game where they finished with the advantage in shots.  OU outshot Ball State, 15-11, and has won six of the last seven games when leading the opposition in shots.  Despite a 16-11 advantage in shots against Rice, OU fell to 1-1 on the season when leading that category.  It marked the first loss when the Sooners led in shots since Oct. 22, 2006 when OU fell to Nebraska, 1-0,  after leading 12-11 in the shot total.

The Sooners opened the 2008 season on the road and seven of their first 12 games are played away from the friendly confines of John Crain Field.  In contrast, the Sooners will play five of the final seven games of the regular season at home.

Nicole Nelson became the fastest head coach to record her first win at the helm of the Sooner program on Aug. 31.  Nelson accomplished the feat in her third game, a 2-1 win against Ball State, topping the previous mark held by Randy Evans (fourth game). 
Entering the 2008 season, sophomore forward Whitney Palmer is tied for fifth all-time with four career game-winning goals.  Palmer's four game winners scored in 2007 ranks in a tie for third in a single season.

Senior Katie Corbitt and sophomore Kelsey Allison were voted as the 2008 captains by their teammates and the coaching staff last week.  Corbitt entered the season with more starts and games played than any other Sooner on the current roster and has made 36 consecutive starts for OU.  Allison played in all but one game as a freshman in 2007 and made 13 starts.  Allison was part of the talented group of newcomers that combined to score nine goals last season.

First year head coach Nicole Nelson and assistant coach Kara Lowery bring to Norman six years of combined experience coaching in the Big 12 Conference.  Coach Nelson was an assistant at Texas the last two seasons where the Longhorns won back-to-back Big 12 Tournament Championships and advanced to the round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament.  Nelson spent the 2005 season as a member of the Baylor coaching staff.  Lowery comes from Lawrence, Kan., where she helped lead the Jayhawks into the top five of the Big 12 standings for three seasons as an assistant.  Despite not having experience in the conference, assistant coach Graeme Abel helped Nevada the past three seasons set a program record for wins and advance to the Wolfpack's first NCAA Tournament appearance.

Only five upper classmen can be found on this year's roster as three seniors (Katie Corbitt, Traci Dickenson and Helen Ajufo) and two juniors (Ashley Farrand and Kate Marr) will look to lead a young squad.  Despite the lack of juniors and seniors, OU returns 14 sophomores, five of which saw significant playing time in 2007 and scored 22 of the team's 30 goals.

Oklahoma All-Access,'s premium site, will provide a live webcast for every Friday home game throughout the 2008 season.  Additional games may be added to the broadcast schedule at a future date.  In addition, live stats are available for all Sooner Soccer games this season.

NEW IN 2008
A talented recruiting class joins the Sooners in 2008, including two Division I transfers Lisa Jett (UCLA) and Sage Coralli (Pepperdine).  The remaining freshman class is made up of Michelle Alexander, Danielle Digeralamo, Abbey Golliher, Kelsey Kraft, Jordan King and Jordan White.

GK  |  1  |  Lisa Jett  |  5-11  |  RS-Fr.  |  College Station, Texas (UCLA)
The Sooners’ starter in goal in every game this season ... Posted a season-high eight saves at Ole Miss ... Leads the Big 12 with 43 saves ... Transferred after redshirting at UCLA in 2007.

D  |  4  |  Ashley Bolden  |  5-5  |  So.  |  Lewisville, Texas  (Hockaday School)
Posted a start in all but one game this season on defense ... Suspended one game for receiving two yellow cards against Central Michigan ... Started all 19 games last season as a freshman.

D  |  24  |  Katie Corbitt  |  5-8  |  Sr.  |  Highland Village, Texas (Marcus H.S.)
Co-captain with Kelsey Allison ... Started every game this season and the last 43 at OU ... Played in more games than any other Sooner (64) on the current roster ... Tallied first and only assist of the season in the opener at Colorado College (fourth of career).

D  |  16  |  Kelsey Kraft  |  5-11  |  Fr.  |  Ranco Santa Margarita, Calif. (Rancho Margarita Catholic H.S.)
Played in all eight games with six starts ... One of four freshman to start at least five games this season (Michelle Alexander, Lisa Jett and Jordan White) ... Scored first career goal in season opener at Colorado College.

D/MF  |  12  |  Michelle Alexander  |  5-6  |  Fr.  |  Sugarland, Texas (Clements H.S.)
Started all eight games ... One of four freshman to start at least five games this season (Kelsey Kraft, Lisa Jett and Jordan White) ... Fired only shot of the season at Ole Miss.

MF  |  9  |  Kelsey Allison  |  5-4  |  So.  |  Keller, Texas (Southlake Carroll H.S.)
Co-captain with Katie Corbitt ... Played in all eight games with seven starts ...  OU leader in assists with two ... Tallied assists in consecutive games against Central Michigan and Ball State ... Ranks third on the team with 13 shots ... Played in 18 games in 2007 with 13 starts.

MF  |  5  |  Tiana Dickson  |  5-9  |  So.  |  Orange, Calif (El Modena H.S.)
Started every game in 2008 ... Recorded a career-high three shots against Rice ... Started all 19 games last season ... Second on the current roster with 27 consecutive starts.

MF  |  7  |  Jordan White  |  5-5  |  Fr.  |  Chandler, Ariz. (Basha H.S.)
Played in all eight games with five starts ... One of four freshman to start at least five games this season (Michelle Alexander, Kelsey Kraft and Lisa Jett) ... Scored game-winning goal against Ball State.

F  |  6  |  Lauren Alkek  |  5-4  |  So.  |  Victoria, Texas (Memorial H.S.)
Started all eight games this season ... Tallied first career assist at Ole Miss ... Fired season-high two shots against then-No. 11 LSU ... Played in 13 games last season with 10 starts after suffering knee injury in third game of the year against Oral Roberts.

F  |  10  |  Sage Coralli  |  5-8  |  So.  |  Dallas, Texas (Pepperdine)
Started all eight games this season ... Tallied first assist against Central Michigan ... Second on squad with 16 shots ... Recorded season-high four shots against Central Michigan and Rice ... Transferred from Pepperdine after scoring a goal with three assists in 2007.

F  |  8  |  Whitney Palmer  |  5-5  |  So.  |  Plano, Texas (Plano East H.S.)
Leading goal scorer in 2008 with four goals ... Ranks in a tie for 10th place in the Big 12 in goals scored ... Started all eight games ... Scored a goal in three consecutive games (Central Michigan, Ball State and North Texas) ... Also scored a goal at Ole Miss ... Leads OU with 25 shots (11 on goal) ... Fired a career-high seven shots at Memphis (four on goal) ... Led OU with six goals, including four game winners, in 2007 when she played in 19 games with 18 starts.



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