NORMAN, Okla. -- The University of Oklahoma soccer team visits No. 16 (Soccer Buzz) Wisconsin on Friday, Sept. 2 (2 p.m.) and Iowa on Sunday, Sept. 4 (1 p.m.).
The weekend is part of the first annual Big 12-Big Ten Challenge. It will also mark the first ever meeting for the OU soccer program against a school from the Big Ten Conference.
Wisconsin (2-0) will entertain OU in its home opener after defeating Creighton (2-0) and Kansas (3-2, OT) on the road.
Junior Katy Lindemuth currently leads the Badgers with two goals and four points. Senior Amy Vermeulen leads UW with 12 shots, five coming on goal.
In the Badgers’ goal, sophomore Lynn Murray is 2-0 with a 0.96 goals-against average. Murray shut out Creighton and has made seven saves.
Wisconsin is coached by Dean Duerst, who is in his 12th season with Wisconsin in 2005. Duerst led the Badgers into the NCAA Tournament a year ago before finishing the year 16-6-1 overall and 5-4-1 in Big Ten play (tied for fifth).
In the 2004 NCAA Tournament, UW beat Dayton 2-1 in overtime and then lost to the eventual national champion, Notre Dame, 1-0. Eighteen letterwinners and 10 starters return from the 2004 club.
On Sunday, OU will be part of another Big Ten opponent’s home opener, as the University of Iowa hosts the Sooners.
In their two games this season, the Hawkeyes lost the season opener at Colorado College, 1-0, and defeated Air Force in Colorado Springs, 3-2, in overtime.
Freshman Stephanie Hyink is Iowa’s early leader in goals (2) and points (4). Hyink tied the Air Force game at two goals apiece before fellow freshman Kelsey Shaw put the game away in overtime.
Katelyn Quinn, a two-time All-Big Ten honoree, is the Iowa player to watch. Quinn assisted on the game winner against Air Force and is penciled into numerous categories of the Iowa career record books. Last season, she moved into second place for game-winning goals (7), is third in career goals (22) and shots (148) and fourth in points (50).
Iowa finished 2-14-2 in 2004 and failed to record a victory in Big Ten play with a 0-9-1 conference mark. Fifteen letterwinners return in 2006 from that team and the only three Hawkeye starters were lost.
Carla Baker is in her fourth year at the helm of the Iowa soccer program and is 18-34-5 in that span.
The Sooners started off the season 2-0 after defeating Saint Louis and Arkansas over the weekend. Freshman Katie Corbitt scored her first collegiate goal in the season opener, helping lift the Sooners 2-1, over Saint Louis in the first overtime session on Friday at Robert R. Hermann Stadium. The game winner was scored with just 25 seconds remaining in OT. After falling behind 1-0 on a goal by SLU’s Mary Greene in the 86th minute, OU quickly countered a 1:35 later when sophomore Lauren Harris found the back of the Billikens’ net.
Allyson Kucera scored two goals and Savannah Scott added the third in a 3-0 shutout of Arkansas at John Crain Field on Sunday. The Sooners dominated the shot count with an 18-4 advantage and also led the Lady’Backs in corner kicks, 4-1.
NICHOLS EARNS BIG 12 DEFENSIVE HONOR
OU sophomore goalkeeper Jennifer Nichols was named the Big 12’s Defensive Player of the Week after shutting out Arkansas on Sunday and limiting Saint Louis to one goal Friday. The shutout marked the first in Nichols’ collegiate career as the sophomore made two saves in the contest. It is the first such honor for Nichols who has a 0.47 goals-against average with 12 saves on the season.
For the fifth time in the program’s ten year history, the Sooners have started off a season 2-0. OU also started 2-0 in 1998, 2001, 2002 and 2003.
Although early in the season, OU has outshot the competition by a significant margin after two games (35-20). In Sunday’s game versus Arkansas, the OU defense limited the Lady’Backs to four shots, the fewest by an OU opponent since Drury fired four against the Sooners on Sept. 6, 2002. In addition, the Sooners have been on target in the first two games, with a .600 percentage (21/35) for shots taken on goal.
FIRST TIME OPPONENTS
OU will face a number of first time opponents on the 2005 slate. That trend begins this weekend with Wisconsin and Iowa, OU’s first ever opponents from the Big Ten Conference. In addition, OU will also play Western Michigan (first ever Mid American Conference foe), East Carolina and Texas State for the first time in the program’s ten year history.
MORE ON THE ARKANSAS SERIES
Sunday’s win over Arkansas was nothing new for OU in the series between the two teams. In seven all-time meetings against the Lady’Backs, OU is a perfect 7-0, including three shutouts. The Sooners’ offense has also thrived against the Lady’Backs, outscoring them 19-4 in the seven meetings.
KUCERA IS KEY
Sophomore midfielder Allyson Kucera continues to make things happen when she is on the field. After 20 career games at OU, Kucera already has six goals. The Pearland, Texas, native scored two goals in the Sooners win over Arkansas, a single-game high. Kucera’s first goal against Arkansas marked the second game-winning goal in her collegiate career.
Two freshmen, Katie Corbitt and Helen Ajufo, have started both games for OU this season. In addition, Traci Dickenson has seen time in both contests. Corbitt scored her first career goal, a game winner, against Saint Louis in overtime Friday. Ajufo and Dickenson have both seen action on defense, in the left back position.
Going into Friday’s game against Saint Louis, senior Michelle Enos had scored in each of the last three regular season openers for OU. That impressive streak came to an end against the Billikens. Enos was inches away from scoring against Arkansas on Sunday, but the header deflected off the cross bar. Should that goal have found the back of the net, Enos would have scored in three straight home openers.
The Sooners are 5-4-1 in regular season openers. OU has not lost the first game of the season since 2000, when it met Tulsa and dropped a 2-0 decision. The Sooners lone tie in a regular season opener occurred last year against Saint Louis (1-1).
BIG 12 PRESEASON POLL
Big 12 preseason poll was released by the conference office on Aug. 18 and the Big 12 coaches picked the Sooners to finish eighth in the conference. The Sooners return 19 letterwinners and nine starters from last year’s 7-8-3 team that finished 10th in the Big 12. OU was slotted behind Texas A&M at No. 1, who received five of the 11 first place votes, Nebraska, Texas, Kansas, Colorado, Missouri and Oklahoma State. Following Oklahoma in the poll were Iowa State, Baylor and Texas Tech.
NELSON AND KENKEL WILL MISS 2005 SEASON
Seniors Becky Nelson and Christy Kenkel will miss the 2005 season. Both Sooners are recovering from torn ACLs. Nelson suffered her injury in the last game of 2004 against Oklahoma State and Kenkel, a 2005 captain, went down during this year’s fall practice.
EVANS COMPLETES COACHING STAFF
Oklahoma soccer head coach Randy Evans announced on Aug. 9 that Wally Crittenden will join the coaching staff for the 2005 season and his primary focus will rest with the Sooners’ goalkeepers. The Florida International University alum has put together a resume of various positions that includes being a regional staff member of the Olympic Development program, goalkeepers coach on the university level, head coach in the high school ranks and a director of the Elite Goalkeeping Academy.
Samantha Faulkner also joins the OU coaching staff in 2005 as a volunteer assistant after graduating from Oklahoma in May 2005 with a degree in sociology. Faulkner (2002-04) played under Evans, tallying two assists as a defensive midfielder and captained the 2004 squad. She also played a vital role in the team’s 2003 NCAA Tournament appearance. She recently obtained her “D” coaching license in June and is continuing her education at Oklahoma in pursuit of a master’s degree in social work.
The 2005 season marks the tenth year in OU soccer history. OU started women’s soccer in 1996 and is 62-88-11 since the program’s inception. The Sooners have participated in three Big 12 Tournaments (2000, 2001 and 2003) and made the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in 2003. The Big 12 Conference is also celebrating its tenth year of existence after changing its name from the Big 8.
OU wrapped up its spring schedule on April 26, south of the Red River, with a 3-2 victory over North Texas and a 1-1 tie against SMU. The Sooners finished the spring with an undefeated record of 6-0-3, including a record of 2-0-2 against teams that went to the NCAA tournament in 2004. Sophomore Allyson Kucera led all Sooners with six goals while juniors Kady Kelly and Savannah Scott each contributed four tallies.
1 - Jennifer Nichols - Sophomore goalkeeper recorded her first shutout against Arkansas on Aug. 28 and earned Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors for the week ending Aug. 28. The Tulsa, Okla., native is 2-0 with 12 saves and a 0.49 goals-against average.
2 - Jenny Jones - Senior defender helped the OU defense limit Arkansas to four shots on Aug. 28 to record the first shutout of the year. The Denton, Texas, native has started both games for OU this season.
3 - Helen Ajufo - Freshman defender has started both games for OU this season. The Southlake, Texas, native is one of two freshman (Katie Corbitt) to start every game this season.
4 - Kristin Vesely - Senior forward has seen action in both games.
5 - Lauren MacIver - Senior captain assisted on OU’s third goal in 3-0 victory over Arkansas. Was also the team captain in 2004. Is currently fourth on OU’s all-time assists (11) list and third in shots taken (175).
6 - Becky Nelson - Senior forward will miss the 2005 season, recovering from an ACL tear suffered in the 2004 Bedlam game.
7 - Andrea Hurley - Junior midfielder assisted on both of OU’s goals in the overtime win over Saint Louis on Aug. 26. Leads the team in assists and ranks second in the Big 12.
8 - Christy Kenkel - Senior captain will miss the 2005 season after suffering a torn ACL in this year’s fall practice.
9 - Savannah Scott - Junior forward scored her first goal of the year in 3-0 victory over Arkansas. Her 11 career goals ranks seventh all-time in OU history.
10 - Kady Kelly - Junior midfielder has started both games for OU. Scored the game-winning goal in the Sooners’ exhibition win over Purdue.
11 - Shana All - Sophomore midfielder recorded an assist in 3-0 win over Arkansas. Started both games this season. Her seven career assists rank seventh all-time at OU.
12 - Lauren Harris - Sophomore midfielder scored first career goal in OU’s 2-1 overtime victory against Saint Louis. The Tulsa, Okla., native has started both games for OU. She is fourth on the team in shots taken (4).
14 - Jayme Seetin - Sophomore midfielder has seen time in both games and has recorded two shots.
15 - Christie Smeal - Junior newcomer played in first game at OU against Arkansas (8/28).
16 - Tenesha Duncan - Sophomore forward has logged two shots in two games.
18 - Allyson Kucera - Sophomore midfielder scored two goals against Arkansas. Leads the team in goals and is third in the Big 12. Her six career goals ranks 11th in OU’s history.
20 - Katie Corbitt - Freshman midfielder is one of two Sooner freshman to start both games this season (Helen Ajufo). Scored the game winner at Saint Louis with 25 seconds remaining in overtime.
21 - Savannah Campbell - Freshman midfielder made first appearance as a Sooner against Arkansas on Aug. 28.
22 - Tally Ward - Freshman defender has not seen action this season due to a sore knee. Expected to see a lot of time on the OU defense this season. May see first action this weekend against Wisconsin.
25 - Michelle Enos - Senior forward has seen time in both games this season, recording two shots.
29 - Katherine Hergenrether - Junior midfielder has not seen time this season.
32 - Ashley King - Sophomore who redshirted her first season and did not see time in 2004. Made first career appearance as a Sooner against Arkansas on Aug. 28. Twin sister Lauren also plays for OU.
33 - Lauren King - Sophomore has seen time in both games this season. Redshirted her freshman season. Twin sister Ashley also plays for OU.
37 - Lindsey Pulat - Senior goalkeeper has not seen action this season.
44 - Traci Dickenson - Freshman defender should continue to see time after appearing in both games this season.
88 - Hollee Fink - Senior goalkeeper has not seen action this season.