Soccer Set for First Big 12 Championship Game

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
NOVEMBER 06, 2010

2010 Big 12 Championship - Nov. 3-7
 Final vs. Oklahoma State  Sunday, Nov. 7 at noon CT
 Location  San Antonio, Texas | Blossom Soccer Stadium
 TV  Fox Sports Net (Cox Ch. 37 in OKC area)
 Internet  Live Stats
 Tickets  $7 single game | Bracket
 Game Info  2010 Media Guide | Weekly Releases | Blog | Twitter

NORMAN, Okla. -- The Sooner soccer team (12-7-2, 5-4-1 Big 12) makes its first appearance in the Big 12 Championship game on Sunday, Nov. 7 against No. 2 seed Oklahoma State (17-3-1, 8-2-0). The winner receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship field of 64 teams next week.

Sunday’s contest gets underway at noon at the Blossom Soccer Stadium in San Antonio, Texas. The game will be televised live on Fox Sports Net Southwest with Glen Davis (play-by-play) and Jessica Stamp (color) providing the talent.

“It’s significant anytime you play for a championship, but especially when you are talking about a first for a program,” said OU Head Coach Nicole Nelson.  “This is what we expect of our program.  We are not satisfied with just being here, we expect to win championships.  We expect to make this tournament year in and year out, and be a team that competes for championships in the Big 12 and on the national scale.”

Oklahoma, 6-3-1 in the last 10 games with two wins over Texas and one against Texa A&M in that span, is seeded fourth in the single-elimination tournament and is searching for its second NCAA Tournament appearance (2003). The Sooners trip to the finals featured wins over No. 21 Texas in the quarterfinals (1-0) and No. 6 Texas A&M, the tournament’s top seed, in the semifinals (1-0, OT).

The Cowgirls defeated Texas Tech, 3-1, and Nebraska, 3-2, to advance to their third Big 12 Championship game. OSU won the conference tourney in both 2009 and 2003. Junior Krista Lopez leads the Cowgirls’ offense with 13 goals while sophomore goalkeeper Adrianna Franch has posted eight shutouts.

Bedlam Series
OSU owns a 14-2-1 advantage in the series and has won each of the last seven meetings, including the only postseason game between the two in the 2006 Big 12 Championship. OU and OSU will meet for the third time in 2010 after playing in the season opener on Aug. 20 in Stillwater and the season finale on Oct. 29 in Norman. The Cowgirls, currently ranked No. 10 in the nation, won both of those meetings (1-0, 2-0). In 17 all-time meetings, 12 games have been decided by one goal or less with OSU holding an 9-2-1 lead, including a 3-0-1 edge in overtime games.

Big 12 Championship History
OU is making its sixth appearance in the Big 12 Championship and first since 2006. The Sooners and Cowgirls have squared off once in the conference tournament. Below is a look at each of the Sooners’s Big 12 postseason games.

2000 Texas - W, 2-0
2000 No. 9 Texas A&M - L, 1-0

2001 No. 8 Texas A&M - L, 1-0 (OT)
2003 No. 21 Kansas - L, 1-0
2005 No. 23 Colorado - L, 2-0
2006 No. 7 Oklahoma State - L, 2-1

2010 No. 21 Texas - W, 1-0
2010 No. 6 Texas A&M - W, 1-0 (OT)

Player to Watch - #8 Whitney Palmer | Sr. | F | Plano, Texas (Plano, Texas)
The senior forward tallied the 10th game-winning goal of her career to send Oklahoma to the Big 12 Championship game with a 1-0 overtime win over No. 6 Texas A&M. Palmer has a goal and an assist in the tournament and has 13 points in the last nine games (5 G, 3 A)
2010 Stats: 21 games played, 21 starts, nine goals, four assists and 52 shots (25 SOG)

Oklahoma State Series
OSU leads 14-2-1
Oct. 29, 2010, @Norman, Okla. - OSU 2, OU 0
Aug. 20, 2010, @Stillwater, Okla. - OSU 1, OU 0
Oct. 23, 2009, @ Stillwater, Okla. - OSU 3, OU 0
Oct. 31, 2008, @ Norman, Okla. - OSU 4, OU 2
Nov. 1, 2007, @ Stillwater, Okla. - OSU 2, OU 0
Nov. 1, 2006, @ Stillwater, Okla. - OSU 2, OU 1
Sept. 15, 2006, @ Norman, Okla. - OSU 2, OU 1
Oct. 28, 2005, @ Stillwater, Okla. - OU 3, OSU 2
Oct. 29, 2004, @ Norman, Okla. - OSU 1, OU 0
Oct. 27, 2003, @ Stillwater, Okla. - OU 0, OSU 0 (2OT)
Nov. 1, 2002, @ Stillwater, Okla. - OSU 3, OU 2
Nov. 2, 2001, @ Norman, Okla. - OU 2, OSU 1
Oct. 28, 2000, @ Stillwater, Okla. - OSU 2, OU 1 (2OT)
Sept. 28, 1999, @ Norman, Okla. - OSU 1, OU 0
Sept. 18, 1998, @ Stillwater, Okla. - OSU 2, OU 1 (OT)
Oct. 31, 1997, @ Norman, Okla. - OSU 1, OU 0 (2OT)
Sept. 29, 1996, @ Stillwater, Okla. - OSU 5, OU 1

Last Time Out
The Sooners recorded their second straight shutout in a 1-0 win over No. 6 Texas A&M, the No. 1 seed, in the semifinals of the Big 12 Championship. Whitney Palmer tallied the game winner in overtime in the 92nd minute. The victory propelled OU into the championship game for the first time in program history.

Nelson, Palmer and Mooney Honored
The All-Big 12 team was announced on Nov. 1 and three Sooners were honored. Head coach Nicole Nelson shared Coach of the Year honors with Colin Carmichael (Oklahoma State), her third such honor but first in the Big 12. Senior forward Whitney Palmer was named to the second team, her fourth consecutive All-Big 12 honor and a first by a Sooner. Sophomore Caitlin Mooney was selected to the newcomer team with six goals in her first season at OU after transferring from Maryland.

Sooners Picked 10th and Finish Fourth
The preseason Big 12 coaches’ poll tabbed OU to finish 10th in 2010 and the Sooners entered the Big 12 Championship as the tournament’s No. 4 seed, the highest finish in school history.

Technically, OU posted the league’s third best conference record (5-4-1) along with Nebraska, a team the Sooners tied back on Oct. 14. However, the Huskers claimed the No. 3 seed via a Big 12 tiebreaker that uses goal differential.

Sooners Collect Nine Academic Honors
Senior Lauren Alkek, junior Michelle Alexander and sophomore Katharine Nutman were named to CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine’s Academic All-District VI second team while sophomore Dria Hampton was voted to the third team. The four selections mark a program best, topping the three honored in 2007. OU has been represented on the academic all-district team in each of the last eight years and has multiple honorees in five of those seasons. Alexander was named to the third team a year ago.

In addition, Alexander, Alkek, Nutman and Hampton were also named to the Academic All-Big 12 first team along with senior Tiana Dickson. The five honorees marks the seventh straight season that OU has placed at least five student-athletes on the first team. Alkek and Dickson are three-time honorees while Alexander collected her second such accolade.

Best Since 2005
OU finished the 2010 regular season with 10 wins, the fifth time it posted double-digit victories in a season (first since 2005). The Sooners also tied a school record with five Big 12 wins, a total also accomplished in 2005. In addition, OU currently has 36 goals, tied for the second-highest total in school history. The 2005 Sooners also hold that record with 37 scored and are followed by the 2001 squad with 36.

Palmer Becomes OU’s All-Time Scorer
On Oct. 8, 2010 against Francis Marion, senior Whitney Palmer tied OU’s career goals record with 34. Two days later at Kansas, Palmer turned in her second straight one goal and one assist performance to move into sole possession of OU’s career goals mark and tied the career lead in points with 75. Logan Womack finished her career in 2003 with 34 goals and 75 points. Palmer currently has 38 goals and 83 points. Below is a look at where Palmer ranks in OU history:

Career Marks
1st with 38 goals
1st with 83 points
T-2nd with 10 game-winning goals
T-3rd with 218 shots

Single Season Marks
1st with 15 goals in 2009
1st with 32 points in 2009
T-3rd with nine goals in 2010
4th with eight goals in 2008
5th with 22 points in 2010
T-3rd with four game winners in 2007 and 2010

Misc. Records
Fastest goal in OU history (11 seconds)
T-1st with three goals in a game
T-1st with goals in four consecutive games
T-1st with two assists in one game

Striking First
The Sooners are 11-2-1 when scoring the game’s initial goal this season. On the other side, OU is 1-5 when the opponent strikes first. OU has scored first in nine of the last 12 games with an 8-3-1 record in that span, including its first victory when surrendering the game’s first goal (vs. Colorado). OU’s two losses when scoring the contest’s first goal came at Texas A&M and at Missouri.

Doubling up the Goals
Oklahoma started the season with 10 goals in the first nine contests, a 1.1 per game average. In the last 12 games, OU has found the back of the net on 25 occasions, a 2.1 goals per game average. Included in that span, was the 8-0 victory over Francis Marion, which tied a program record for most goals scored in a game (won 8-0 over Alabama A&M in 2007 and won 8-1 over Drury in 1997).

One-Goal Games
Sixteen of the 21 games in 2010 have been decided by one goal or less with OU holding a 10-4-2 record. The Sooners lead the Big 12 in one-goal wins. Oklahoma was 2-4-2 in games played in 2009 decided by one goal or less and 3-5-1 in head coach Nicole Nelson’s first season in 2008.

Four Straight Overtime Games
Five out of the last sseven games have been contested past regulation time, including four straight at one point and three played in double overtime. The Sooners are 4-2-1 in that span with victories over Colorado and Texas (twice). Oklahoma is 3-1-2 on the season in overtime games with the only loss coming at then-No. 6 Texas A&M.
OU has played in four straight overtime games on one other occasion in school history. In 2003, the Sooners battled Iowa State (T, 2-2), Missouri (W, 2-1), Nebraska (L, 2-1) and Colorado (T, 0-0). Three of those games also reached double overtime.

More Overtime
OU was without a win in the last 15 overtime games before the 2-1 victory over Colorado in extra time on Oct. 17. The Sooners’ previous overtime win was also against Colorado on Oct. 2, 2005 in Norman (OU won 2-1 in OT).

Devonshire’s Shutouts
In 2009, goalkeeper Kelsey Devonshire set an OU freshman record with six shutouts. She has started all 39 games and played all but 113 minutes of those contests since stepping foot on campus. Devonshire has six shutouts in 2010 against Tulsa, Rice, UC Santa Barbara, Nebraska and against Texas and Texas A&M in the Big 12 Championship. In addition, Devonshire and the OU defense are the only Big 12 team to blank the Huskers in 2010. Following the semifinal win over Texas A&M, she moved into third place all-time at OU with 12 career shutouts. Below is a look at the OU shutout leaders:

1 - Catharine Wade (2001-04) - 18
2 - Jennifer Nichols (2004-07) - 16
3 - Kelsey Devonshire (2009-present) - 12
4 - Jana Cunningham (1999-2002) - 11



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