OU Hosts Sooner Invitational Friday

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
SEPTEMBER 20, 2007

Sept. 20, 2007

>> Week 4 Game Notes (PDF)

NORMAN, Okla. -- The Sooners return home to host the Sooner Invitational on Sept. 21 and 23.  Middle Tennessee and Long Beach State kick off the tournament on Friday at 4:30 p.m. and will be followed by the Sooners hosting North Texas at 7:30 p.m. 

On Sunday, North Texas and Long Beach State will play at 11 a.m. while the Sooners and Middle Tennessee are slated to start at 1 p.m. at John Crain Field.

Live stats will be available for every game of the Sooner Invitational this weekend on SoonerSports.com.  Click here to access the links.

Seats to this weekend's game are available for $7 (adult), $5 (youth) and $3 for groups of ten or more at the OU Athletics Ticket Office (800-456-4668) and at SoonerSports.com.  The gates will open an hour before the game.

The first 500 fans through the gates on Friday will receive free OU pom pons.  On Sunday, the team will provide a free kids soccer clinic after the game.  Also, "Kids Eat FREE Sunday," each child under 13 will receive one coupon for a free hot dog, popcorn and soda.  

Soonersports.com sat down with OU head coach Randy Evans at Tuesday's practice to discuss this weekend's opponents and recap last weekend in California.

Tuesday Practice-Report
Video  Coach Evans talks about the team adjusting to road trips.
Video  The Sooners' head coach recaps last weekend in California.
Video  Coach Evans previews the upcoming weekend.

The Mean Green enter this weekend at 6-0 overall, their best start in school history.  Last weekend, North Texas handed Texas State a 5-0 defeat and Grambling State a 4-0 defeat.

North Texas is outscoring its opponents 25-4 and have only allowed one goal in the last four contests.    Junior midfielder Brittany Cleveland leads the offense with seven goals and 15 points.  She is one five players on the roster with two or more goals scored in 2007.

The Mean Green return 15 letterwinners and nine starters from a 2006 squad that finished 15-5-2 overall and third with a 9-2 mark in the Sun Belt Conference.  North Texas was picked to finish second in the conference along with Middle Tennessee. 

OU trails the all-time series, 3-0,  with North Texas with the two teams last meeting on Sept. 5, 1998 in Plano (UNT 3, OU 1).  They also played on Sept. 12, 1997 in Norman (UNT 1, OU 0) and Sept. 14, 1996 in  Plano (UNT 2, OU 0).

Middle Tennessee (3-2-1) enters the Sooner Invitational with a split in last weekend's action.  The Blue Raiders lost 2-1 at Alabama on Friday but bounced back with a 2-0 win at Alabama A&M.   MTSU will play Long Beach State in the opening game of this weekend's tournament on Friday.

After six games, the Blue Raiders have outscored their opponents, 12-9, and are led by sophomore forward Jen Threlkel with five goals. 

The Blue Raiders return 14 letterwinners  and six starters from last year's team that finished second in the Sun Belt Conference with a 17-4 overall record and a 10-1 mark in conference play.  In the preseason, Middle Tennessee was picked to finish second in the Sun Belt with North Texas.

Sunday's meeting will be the first between Oklahoma and Middle Tennessee.

The Sooners suffered their first loss of the season on Friday, Sept. 14 at Long Beach State.  The Sooners tied the game at one apiece on Tenesha Duncan's goal in the 86th minute, but gave up the game winner in double overtime.  On Sunday, OU dropped its second consecutive game in a 2-0 decision at Cal State Fullerton.

The Sooners begin conference play on the road at Nebraska on Sept. 28.  The Cornhuskers won last year's meeting in Norman, 1-0, and lead the all-time series 9-2.  On Sept. 30, OU will head to Ames, Iowa to battle Iowa State.  The Sooners topped the Cyclones, 4-0, last year in Norman.  ISU leads OU, 7-2-2, in 11 all-time meetings.

After three weeks of action, Oklahoma sits seventh in the overall standings.  OU's 15 goals rank fourth in the Big 12 and it also ranks fourth in assists (11) and points (41). 

After entering both the NSCAA and Soccer Buzz Central Region polls last week for the first time in 2007, the Sooners remained in the polls despite an 0-2 weekend in California.  OU did not appear in the preseason or week one polls, but sit at No. 9 and No. 15 this week in the NSCAA and Soccer Buzz rankings, respectively.  Refer to page five for complete listings.

The Sooners are 0-1-1 in overtime games this season, having faced extra time in two of the last three contests.  The total already surpasses the amount of overtime games OU played last season (1).    Of the 207 games in OU history, OU has played 38 of them in overtime with a 10-16-12 record.  In the Randy Evans' era, OU is 9-11-12 in overtime, including a 4-2-4 mark in the last 10 OT games.

Freshman forward Whitney Palmer has scored three game-winning goals this season, a mark that leads the Big 12 Conference.  Overall, Palmer's four goals this season ranks fourth in the conference and she also ranks eighth in points (8).  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 first for the Plano, Texas, native. 

Senior forward Tenesha Duncan scored her 10th career goal over the weekend and sits tied for eighth place all-time at OU with current teammate Allyson Kucera.  Duncan, who was hindered by injuries in 2006 and 2004, is two goals shy of her career high of five set in 2005 where she played in 19 games.  Duncan ranks second among Sooners this season in goals scored (3) and she is the only Sooner to tally a goal in each of the first three weekends of the season.

After six games in 2007, eight different Sooners have contributed to the 15 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 46-22-6 (.662) 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).

The Sooners have won six straight games at home dating back to Sept. 24, 2006 when they suffered a 1-0 loss to Kansas.  In that six-game span, OU has outscored its opponents 25-3, including a 12-1 advantage this season.  Under head coach Randy Evans, the Sooners are 47-21-5 (.678) at home.

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 three occasions last season.

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. 

Senior Colleen Keester tied a school record during Friday's 8-0 win over Alabama A&M.  Keester's two-assist performance was the 12th time in school history that a Sooner assisted on two goals  in a game.  The last Sooner to accomplish the feat is current senior Audri Habibi.  She assisted on two goals on Oct. 8, 2006 versus Iowa State.

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.

OU will face seven first-time opponents in 2007, including Alabama A&M, William & Mary, Virginia Commonwealth, Long Beach State, Cal State Fullerton, Middle Tennessee and Butler.  OU finished 2006 with a 3-4 record against first time opponents (wins over Michigan State, Stephen F. Austin and Northern Iowa and losses versus Washington, Hawaii, Michigan and Purdue).

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 this season's schedule:

Friday, Aug. 31 
Alabama A&M - 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 2 
Oral Roberts - 3 p.m.

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 - Made first career appearance during the season opener ... Combined with Jennifer Nichols for the first shutout of the season ... Second tallest Sooner on the roster ... One of three Sooners to redshirt in 2006.

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 ... Three-year starter who played every minute of the 2005 and 2006 seasons ... Second all-time at OU with 15 career shutouts ... Two-time Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week ... Led the Big 12 with seven shutouts in 2005.

2 - Ashley Farrand - Started all six 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.

4 - Ashley Bolden - One of four freshman to start the first six games of the season ... Started preseason game against SMU on defense.

5 - Tiana Dickson - Scored first goal of career against Alabama A&M on Aug. 31 ... One of four freshman to start the first six 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 two games with right knee sprain ...  Started the preseason game against SMU up top.

Audri Habibi7 - 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 ... Ranked third among Sooners in 2006 with four multi-point games ... Big 12 Newcomer of the Week on Oct. 10, 2006 ... Second on the 2006 squad with five assists.

8 - Whitney Palmer - Leads Big 12 with three game winners ... Tied for fourth in goals scored (4) ... 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 freshman to start the first six 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 freshman to start the first six games of the season.

11 - Shana All - Started every game of the 2007 season ... Leads OU with two assists in 2007 along with Colleen Keester ... Three-year starter who ranks fifth in OU history with 12 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 60 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.

16 - 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 63 career starts.

19 - Colleen Keester - Leads OU with two assists in 2007 along with Shana All ... Recorded the 12th two-assist game in program history in season opener, tying a school record ... Senior with 60 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 five games played off the bench in 2007.

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

24 - Katie Corbitt - Started every game in 2007 ... Two-year starter on defense with 43 games played and 32 starts ... 2006 Academic All-Big 12 first team member.

25 - Ashley Mumma - Freshman defender 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 ... 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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