NORMAN, Okla -- The 2006 Oklahoma soccer team opens the regular season this weekend with a pair of games in Hawai'i against Washington on Saturday and Hawai'i on Monday.
Oklahoma and Washington will square off for the first time this weekend in the OHANA Hotels & Resorts No Ka Oi. Saturday’s action is slated to get underway at 7 p.m. (12 a.m. CT) at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium in Honolulu, Hawai’i
While the contest marks the season opener for the Sooners, the Huskies will open the 2006 slate on Friday against host Hawai’i.
One season after advancing within one game of the Final Four, the Huskies (0-17-3) last year suffered through the first winless season in program history. Sixteen of Washington’s 20 games were decided by one goal as the offense struggled with eight goals on the season.
Despite the lack of offensive production, the UW defense was solid by holding 12 opponents to one goal. Three-year starter Kelsey Rasmussen anchors the defense. Rasmussen has 13 career shutouts and a 1.39 goals-against average as a Huskie.
The Huskies are led offensively by sophomore Melissa Beal who was the team’s leading scorer in 2005, netting four goals.
SCOUTING THE RAINBOW WAHINE
The Sooners’ contest on Monday features another first-time opponent, Hawai’i. The host school of the OHANA Hotels & Resorts No Ka Oi, the Rainbow Wahine will square off with the Sooners on Monday, Aug. 28 at 5 p.m. (10 p.m. CT).
Hawai’i, which was picked to finish second in the Western Athletic Conference, returns four all-conference players, including junior midfielder Jessica Domingo (first team), senior forward Krisha Kai (second team), sophomore goalkeeper Kori Lu (second team) and junior defender Koren Takeyama (first team).
Kai and Takeyama return as the squad’s top scorers for 2006. Kai and Takeyama each tallied two goals last year (tied for third), while junior Shawn Higa was second on the team with four assists.
In goal, Lu is coming off a freshman season that saw her record 71 saves and a 1.14 GAA.
The Rainbow Wahine are looking to claim their third regular season conference title in the last four years.
After the trip to Hawai'i, OU returns to Norman to begin a six-game home stand which gets underway on Friday, Sept. 1 against Michigan. The home opener is slated for a 7:30 p.m. start at the newly renovated John Crain Field at the OU Soccer Complex. The weekend concludes with another Big Ten opponent, Michigan State, on Sunday at 1 p.m. During the home stand, the Sooners will also face Purdue, Stephen F. Austin, Oklahoma State and Oral Roberts.
The Sooners opened the 2006 preseason in successful fashion on Tuesday, Aug. 15 with a 4-1 victory over visiting TCU in Norman.
The Sooner offense was led by senior Kady Kelly and freshman Daphne Fitzpatrick, who combined to score three of the four goals in the contest. The duo were also responsible for eight of the team’s 12 shots.
The Sooners finished the game with a 12-11 advantage in shots, including a 7-3 edge after the first 30 minute period. Fitzpatrick led the team with five shots, while Kelly added three and Harris connected for two more.
In the second game of the preseason, junior Shana All scored two goals, including the game winner, as Oklahoma won 3-2 at North Texas on Friday, Aug. 18. The win gave the Sooners a perfect 2-0 mark in exhibition play.
The Sooners dominated play throughout the contest with the Mean Green, including an early 2-0 lead after the first 25 minutes of action.
Oklahoma held a 13-12 edge in shots and a 7-2 advantage in corner kicks. All led all Sooners with five shots in the contest, while Kady Kelly added two, including OU’s second score.
Junior goalkeeper Jennifer Nichols played the entire 90 minutes and collected four saves.
Daphne Fitzpatrick - 2
Shana All - 2
Kady Kelly - 2
Lauren Harris - 1
Kady Kelly - 2
Shana All - 1
Daphne Fitzpatrick - 1
Allyson Kucera - 1
Jennifer Nichols - 6
SOONERS IN SEASON OPENERS
Oklahoma is undefeated in its last five season openers, with a 4-0-1 mark. The tie in that span came in 2004 against Saint Louis in Norman. In addition, the Sooners are averaging two goals per game in the last five season openers. OU is 5-4-1 lifetime in the first game of the year, including a 3-3 mark on the road and 1-1 record at neutral sites.
OU TABBED SIXTH IN BIG 12 PRESEASON POLL
Oklahoma was picked to finish in sixth place in the Big 12 Conference, according to a coaches poll released by the league office.
Texas A&M was picked to win the 2006 Big 12 soccer championship after receiving seven of 11 first place votes (coaches are not allowed to vote for their own team or players) and totaled 97 points. Nebraska was chosen second with two first place votes and 83 points. Texas was a close third with two first place votes and 82 points.
The Sooners followed Colorado and Kansas at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively, and were picked to finish ahead of Oklahoma State, Missouri, Iowa State, Baylor and Texas Tech.
2006 BIG 12 SOCCER PRESEASON POLL
1. Texas A&M (7) 97
2. Nebraska (2) 83
3. Texas (2) 82
4. Colorado 72
5. Kansas 69
6. Oklahoma 51
7. Oklahoma State 47
8. Missouri 42
9. Iowa State 31
10. Baylor 18
11. Texas Tech 13
OU SOCCER COMPLEX RENOVATIONS
The University of Oklahoma Athletics Department has completed Phase II of the OU Soccer Complex, a $4.5 million renovation. The addition of a state-of-the-art press box and grandstand is joined by a multi-use building located between the soccer complex and the Headington Family Tennis Center at the corner of Chautauqua Avenue and Imhoff Road.
Phase II construction began in November of 2005 and the new facility is comprised of spaces for student-athletes, coaches and fans of both soccer and tennis.
The OU soccer and tennis clubhouse features a training room, locker rooms, video and conference rooms, team facilities, and equipment, laundry and other support services.
The press box is equipped with camera decks and a media level complete with the latest technologies. The attractive conference room/meeting area serves as a versatile location for team meetings and activities, and will be used to host special guests, parents, donors and media.
In addition to increasing the seating capacity to 3,500, the complex also includes concessions, restrooms and a ticket booth to give fans a complete family atmosphere for watching Division I soccer.
The Sooners will face seven teams that advanced to last year’s NCAA Tournament (Michigan State, Purdue, Colorado, Texas A&M, Texas, Iowa State and Nebraska) in 2006. Those teams each had 11 wins or more last year and combined to go 89-49-16 in 2005.
OU has never faced Purdue or Michigan State in regular season play. The Sooners will also play five other teams this season for the first time (Washington, Hawai’i, Michigan, Northern Iowa and Missouri State).
HOME SWEET HOME
The Sooners won nine out of 10 games last season and have a chance to break into double digit wins this season with 12 games scheduled at John Crain Field at the OU Soccer Complex. Following this weekend’s trip to Hawai’i, the Sooners return home to begin a six-game home stand. Additionally, OU will play nine of its next 12 (after Hawai’i) in Norman. OU is 46-26-7 lifetime at home, including a 31-9-5 mark over the last five seasons.
EVANS VS. NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS
In 2005, OU posted its best non-conference record (8-1, .889 winning percentage) in program history. The previous best was set by the 2001 team that went 7-1 (.875). The last time OU had a losing non-conference record during a season was in 1999, current head coach Randy Evans first year. Evans, now in his eighth season at OU, is 38-16-5 (.686) against non-conference opponents.
MACIVER JOINS COACHING STAFF
Lauren MacIver joined the OU coaching staff in August for the 2006 season as a student assistant. MacIver (2002-2005) finished her playing career as the program’s all-time assists leader with 18. A senior captain last season, she led all Sooners in 2005 with eight goals and eight assists (single season record) en route to being named to the NSCAA and Soccer Buzz All-District Second Teams. MacIver’s senior year also produced First Team All-Big 12 honors, marking the second time in school history that a Sooner held that distinction in soccer.