Game 16: Friday, Oct. 22 (4 p.m.)
Oklahoma at Colorado
The Sooners (6-6-3 overall, 2-5-0 Big 12) close out the road portion of the 2004 slate on Friday at Colorado (10-4-2 overall, 3-3-1 Big 12) at 4 p.m. (CDT).
Last weekend, the Sooners suffered losses at the hands of Iowa State (2-1) and Kansas (3-0). Freshman Allyson Kucera scored the Sooners’ only goal of the weekend, her fourth tally of the season. Now in 10th place in the Big 12 standings, OU needs a couple of wins to close out the season in order to make its fourth Big 12 Tournament appearance in the last five years. Although 11 teams compete in women’s soccer in the Big 12, only the top eight squads will advance to the Big 12 Conference Tournament on Nov. 3-7 at Blossom Stadium in San Antonio, Texas. The Sooners trail the eighth spot, held by Missouri, by three points.
Colorado is undefeated in its last three games, tying Texas (1-1) and defeating Baylor and Texas Tech, 2-1 and 7-0, respectively. Colorado’s roster sports four players with 13 points or more. Junior Fran Munnelly leads that group with 19 points and is tied for the team lead in goals (7) with junior Ashlie Mihalcin. Munnelly is also tied for the team lead in assists with five. In net, junior Jessica Keller has a 0.67 goals-against average with eight shutouts. She is 10-4-2 on the season with 54 saves.
In seven all-time OU-CU meetings, the series is tied 3-3-1. The two battled to a scoreless tie last year in Norman. OU lost to Colorado the last time they met in Boulder (2-1) during the 2002 season and the Sooners are 1-2 all-time when playing at Colorado. OU had won three consecutive games in the series by a combined score of 9-2 before the 2002 defeat.
Game 17: Sunday, Oct. 24 (1 p.m.)
Oklahoma vs. Nebraska
Oklahoma will play Nebraska (11-5-0 overall, 5-2-0 Big 12) on Sunday at John Crain Field at 1 p.m. The two last met in Norman during the 2001 season with Nebraska besting OU, 2-0. The Cornhuskers play at Oklahoma State on Friday.
Nebraska dropped out of the top 25 this week after losing two of its last three games (L, 4-3 Baylor; W, 3-0 Texas Tech; L, 2-1 Texas A&M). The Cornhuskers did receive votes in both major polls (NSCAA and Soccer Buzz) this week. NU sophomore Brittany Timko is one of the Big 12’s best offensive players as she leads the conference in points (43), goals (15) and assists (13). Sophomore goalkeeper Katie Wright (11-5-0) has played every minute for Nebraska this season in goal. She has recorded five shutouts, 64 saves and owns a 1.30 goals-against average.
Nebraska leads the all-time series 7-1 and has won three straight over OU, including last year’s 2-1 overtime victory. The Sooners’ one victory against the Cornhuskers took place on Oct. 15, 2000, when they defeated then-No. 2 Nebraska (2-1) in Lincoln.
Gates will open at noon at John Crain Field on the corner of Imhoff Road and Chautauqua Avenue. The first 200 fans will receive a free OU pennant. In addition, those in attendance at Sunday’s game will have the opportunity to win a parking pass for the OU football game vs. Nebraska on Nov. 13. Discount rates are available for groups of 10 or more at $3 a ticket. OU students receive free admission with a valid student ID. For more information, contact the OU ticket office at 800-456-GoOU.
Sophomore Savannah Scott is having an impressive sophomore campaign for the Sooners. The Norman native has scored a goal in four of the last seven contests. Scott leads the team in points (13) and in goals (6). Four goals have come in Big 12 play. Scott also has an assist this season. Last year, Scott recorded four assists and four goals, ranking her second and third, respectively, on the team.
The Sooners have played nine of their last 12 games away from John Crain Field and they own a 5-3-1 in those nine contests. OU is 5-3 in road games and 0-0-1 at neutral sites this season. Colorado (Friday) is the one road opponent remaining for the Sooners this season. OU is assured of the program’s first winning regular season road record this year. Its previous best was in 2000 (4-5).
FIRST GOAL IS CRUCIAL
The Sooners have scored first in all but five games this season. In those five games (against San Diego State, Oral Roberts, Texas, Iowa State and Kansas), OU is 0-4-1. In its other 10 contests, OU is 6-2-2 when posting the game’s first goal. Savannah Scott has four of the initial scores and freshman Allyson Kucera has three.
CENTRAL REGION POLLS
After last weekend’s losses, OU fell out of this week’s NSCAA/adidas Central Region poll but still received votes. It is the first time the Sooners did not appear in the poll since making their initial appearance four weeks ago at No. 7. OU dropped two spots to No. 14 in this week’s Soccer Buzz Central Region poll. The Sooners have been as high as No. 9 on two occasions this season in the Soccer Buzz poll.
DEFENSE KEEPS IT CLOSE
In 12 of OU’s 15 games this season, the contest has been decided by one goal or none. In two of the other three contests, the Sooners bested TCU and Tulsa 5-0 and 3-1, respectively. The remaining game saw OU drop a 3-0 decision against Kansas. Traditionally, defense has been a trademark for OU under head coach Randy Evans. This season is no different as the OU defense has limited the opposing offense to one goal or none in 10 games (three shutouts). Despite the close contests, the Sooners have outscored the opposition 21-15 on the year.
SOONERS AT HOME UNDER EVANS
OU has made John Crain Field a tough road assignment for opponents over the years as it is 36-24-5 (.592) in its eight seasons. The winning percentage is even better under Randy Evans. Now in his sixth year, the Sooners are 28-16-7 (.618) at home under the head coach. Over the past three seasons, OU is 21-7-5 (.712) at John Crain Field.
ALL EQUALS ASSISTS
Freshman Shana All leads the team and ranks fourth in the Big 12 with six assists. Five of All’s six assists have come on perfectly placed corner kicks that found fellow Sooners in the box, three for net-finding headers by freshman Allyson Kucera and another by Michelle Enos. All also hooked up with freshman Tenesha Duncan for a goal on a cross against Tulsa. Lauren MacIver led OU in assists with five in 2003 and the all-time mark for assists in a season was set in 2002 by Krissy Dawson (8).
KUCERA IS KEY
Despite her solid efforts on defense for OU, freshman Allyson Kucera is getting more attention on offense as she ranks second on the team in goals. On four occasions, Kucera has pushed up on offense to contribute scores on Sooner corner kicks. The Texas native already holds the record for most goals scored in a season by an OU defender (Sheri Whatley had two tallies in 1996).
Junior Becky Nelson has been a solid contributor for OU this season. She scored a goal and added an assist on Oct. 10 in the Sooners’ win over Texas Tech. Nelson is second or third on the team in every major offensive category. She is tied for second in points (8) and ranks third in goals (3). Nelson sits alone in second place on the team in assists (2), shots on goal (15) and shots (35). Last season, Nelson tied for the team lead in goals (6) and ranked second on the team in points (14).
OU VERSUS THE TOP 25
Oklahoma’s win over then-No. 9 Arizona State on Sept. 19 marked the highest ranked opponent OU has defeated since the 2000 season. On Oct. 15, 2000, in Lincoln, Neb., the Sooners defeated Nebraska, ranked No. 2 in the nation, 2-1. OU is 1-2-1 against the top 25 this year, with a 2-1 loss against then-No. 9 Texas A&M on Oct. 3, a 2-2 tie against then-No. 21 SMU on Aug. 29, and a 3-0 loss to then-No. 6 Kansas on Sunday. None of OU’s remaining opponents are currently ranked in the top 25.
FRESHMEN CATCHING ON QUICKLY
The 2004 freshman class continues to gain valuable experience this season. Defender Lauren Harris, defender Allyson Kucera, midfielder Shana All and goalkeeper Jennifer Nichols have combined for 44 starts this season while two other frosh have seen significant time. Forward Colleen Keester has appeared in all but four games for the Sooners and forward Tenesha Duncan has appeared in all but six games, each tallying a goal. As a whole, the freshman class has accounted for 34 percent of OU’s points this season (6 goals, 8 assists).
GET TO KNOW THE 2004 SOONERS
During the 2004 season, SoonerSports.com will bring you a weekly segment giving fans a inside look at the players on the OU Soccer team. Each week, a different player will be spotlighted answering questions varying from most embarrassing moments to nicknames and superstitions. Click here to access the main page that currently features senior Samantha Faulkner and freshman Tenesha Duncan.
SAMANTHA FAULKNER 2004 JOURNAL
Senior stopper and team captain Samantha Faulkner takes Sooner fans behind the scenes with her online journal as OU plays its 2004 season.