Dec. 10, 2010
NORMAN, Okla. -- The 2010 campaign was a season of firsts for the Sooner Soccer team under third-year head coach Nicole Nelson. OU posted double-digit wins for the first time since 2005. The Sooners returned to the Big 12 Tournament for the first time since 2006 and advanced to the program’s first conference championship game. Despite falling just short of its first Big 12 Championship following a 5-4 loss in penalty kicks, OU clinched a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in program history (2003).
Oklahoma started the 2010 campaign as the Big 12 coaches’ pick to finish 10th in the league’s preseason poll. The Sooners finished the regular season with a program-best five wins in conference play. OU had the league’s third-best record but virtue of a tiebreaker with Nebraska, clinched the No. 4 seed in the Big 12 Tournament. Prior to falling to Oklahoma State in the Big 12 title game, the Sooners knocked off then-No. 21 Texas and then-No. 6 Texas A&M in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.
The program’s highest finish in the Big 12 was coupled with OU tying the 2005 Sooners for the most goals scored in a season with 37. Once again, Whitney Palmer led the Sooners in goals scored and points with nine and 22, respectively. She finished her career as the only Sooner to lead OU in scoring in all four seasons and was rewarded for her efforts. Palmer was named All-Big 12 and All-Region for the second straight year and is the only Sooner to hold four all-conference honors and two all-region accolades.
Nelson was named the Big 12’s Co-Head Coach of the Year with OSU’s Colin Carmichael prior to the run in the conference tournament, which eventually led to an NCAA postseason appearance for the Sooners. OU lost in the first round of the NCAA Portland Regional, 4-0, to Washington, a team that advanced to the Elite Eight.
“Our program has come a long way with this season,” said Nelson after the loss the Huskies. “The one thing that I said to them after the game was the only thing we can do at this point is learn from this experience and move forward.”
While OU loses three starters in seniors Lauren Alkek, Tiana Dickson and Palmer, it will return eight starters and 19 letterwinners from a team that was one win shy of tying the program record for wins.
2010 MVP - #8 Whitney Palmer | Sr. | F | Plano, Texas (Plano H.S.)
The senior forward finished her career as the program leader in goals (38) and points (83) after leading OU in scoring for the fourth straight year. Palmer was named to the NSCAA All-Region second team for the second straight year, a first by any Sooner in OU history.
2010 Stats: 23 games played, 23 starts, 9 goals, 3 assists, 22 points, 54 shots (26 SOG)
Returning in 2011
Included in the eight starters and 19 letterwinners that return next season are three juniors that played in every game. All-Big 12 Honorable Mention Caitlin Mooney is one of the sophomores from 2010 that finished second on the team with seven goals and third with three assists during her first season in Norman. Dria Hampton followed up her impressive freshman campaign by leading OU in assists (5) for the second straight year and finishing third with five goals. Finally, goalkeeper Kelsey Devonshire started every game for the second straight season and ranks third all-time at OU with 12 shutouts and two seasons of eligibility remaining.
Palmer Tabbed All-Region
Senior Whitney Palmer added another program first to conclude her impressive Sooner soccer career. The Plano, Texas, native became the first Sooner to be named an All-Region selection in two separate seasons. The National Soccer Coaches’ Association of America (NSCAA) tabbed Palmer a second team member for the second straight year.
Last Time Out
The Sooner soccer team’s season ended in the first round of the NCAA Portland Regional on Nov. 12 in a 4-0 loss to Washington at Merlo Field. The Huskies went on to win the second round game against host and No. 2 seed Portland to advance to the Sweet 16. Oklahoma is 0-2 all-time against Washington. The last game against the Huskies came in the 2006 season opener.
Big 12 All-Tournament Team
Seniors Lauren Alkek and Whitney Palmer and sophomore Dria Hampton) were named to the Big 12 All-Tournament team. Only one other Sooner in program history has held that distinction (Bridgette Smith in 2000).
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. She joins Randy Evans (2000) as the only Sooners to collect the conference accolade.
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 seven goals in her first season at OU after transferring from Maryland.
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 had 37 goals, tied for the highest total in school history with the 2005 Sooners.
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:
1st with 38 goals
1st with 83 points
T-2nd with 10 game-winning goals
3rd with 220 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
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
In 2009, goalkeeper Kelsey Devonshire set an OU freshman record with six shutouts. She has started all 41 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
Newcomers Make their Mark
Ten newcomers (nine true freshmen) logged minutes out of the 26 players to see the field in 2010, including seven starters. In addition, 16 out of OU’s 37 goals scored in 2010 came from newcomers, including eight from freshmen (Bailey Boulware, Zoe Dickson, Annalisa Hall, Samantha Howell and Emily Reid).Caitlin Mooney, a sophomore transfer from Maryland, led all newcomers with seven goals.