Soccer Faces Tough Road Challenge

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
SEPTEMBER 16, 2010

Sept. 16, 2010

Soccer (3-2-1) at USC (4-1-2) and UCSB (3-3-1)
 Game 7 vs. USC  Friday, Sept. 17 at 5 p.m. CT
 Location  Los Angeles, Calif. | McAlister Field
 Internet  Live Stats
 Game 8 vs. UCSB  Sunday, Sept. 19 at 3 p.m. CT
 Location  Santa Barbara, Calif. | Harder Stadium
 Internet  Live Stats
 Game Info  2010 Media Guide | Weekly Releases | Blog | Twitter

NORMAN, Okla. -- The Sooner soccer team (3-2-1) hits the road for one more full weekend of non-conference action, starting with a Friday afternoon matchup at No. 25 Southern California (4-1-2). The game is slated for a 3 p.m. PT kick at McAlister Field.

The Sooners are coming off a split last weekend that started with a 3-2 loss at Missouri State on Friday, but OU bounced back with a 1-0 win at home on Sunday over Rice thanks to Whitney Palmer’s 32nd career goal.

The Trojans re-enter the rankings this week for the first time since the preseason polls were released when they were slotted as high as No. 19. USC started the year 1-1-2 but has won each of its last three games, including a pair of home wins last weekend over then-No. 21 Auburn (1-0) in overtime and a 3-1 decision over Northern Arizona.

USC, one of seven programs to win the NCAA title (2007), returns 13 letterwinners and eight starters from the 2009 team that finished 12-6-3 overall. USC was 4-3-2 in the Pac 10 Conference (4th) and dropped a first round game in the NCAA Tournament.

The Sooners and Trojans have met once previously on Sept. 20, 2009 in Norman. USC won that tightly contested match, 1-0, on Courtney Garcia’s goal in the ninth minute. Garcia is one of three Trojans to lead the team in assists in 2010 with two, while Ashli Sandoval is the team’s leading scorer with two goals in just four games played.

Game 8 | at UCSB
On Sunday, Sept. 19, OU faces its second participant from the 2009 NCAA Tournament on the weekend when it travels to UC Santa Barbara (3-3-1). The 1 p.m. PT showdown at Harder Stadium marks the first meeting in the series between the Sooners and Gauchos. UCSB hosts Weber State on Friday and is 0-3-1 since starting the year at 3-0. It tied 1-1 at then-No. 13 UCLA last Sunday.

UCSB returns 21 letterwinners and eight starters from the 2009 team that lost in the first round of last year’s NCAA Championship. The Gauchos were 9-10-3 overall and finished third in the Big West Conference with a 5-2-1 mark. Kailyn Kugler, who led the 2009 Gauchos with nine goals, returns from that team and is one of seven players to find the back of the net in 2010. Erica Seidman leads that group with three scores.

On the Web
Fans can follow live stats for both games with a link via the schedule page on

Player to Watch - #25 Zoe Dickson | Fr. | MF | Orange, Calif. (El Modena H.S.)
The freshman midfielder recorded her first career goal in Friday’s loss at Missouri State and followed it up with her first career assist in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Rice. The younger sister of current senior midfielder Tiana Dickson, Zoe has started each of the last four contests for OU and is one of five Sooner freshmen to play in all six games in 2010.
2010 Stats: Six games played (4 starts), one goal, one assist, three shots (two on goal)

Last Time Out
The Sooners recorded a split last weekend that ended with a 1-0 win over Rice on Sunday. Whitney Palmer, via Zoe Dickson’s first career assist, provided the game-winning goal in the 62nd minute. It was the 32nd career goal for Palmer and her third straight game with a score. Two days earlier, the Sooners suffered a hard fought loss at Missouri State. OU fell 3-2 despite goals from Palmer and Dickson.

Next Weekend
The Sooners open Big 12 play at home against Texas Tech on Friday, Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. The Red Raiders (7-1) won last season’s meeting in Lubbock and the series is knotted up at 6-6-1 (OU leads 4-2-1 in Norman).

On Sunday, Sept. 26, OU welcomes Baylor to town for a 5 p.m. showdown. The Sooners and Bears ended the 2009 regular season in a scoreless tie in Norman. OU leads the all-time series 6-4-3, including a 4-1-3 advantage at home.

One-Goal Games
Each of the Sooners’ six games in 2010 have been decided by one goal or less with OU holding a 3-2-1 record. The Sooners have already surpassed the win total from a year ago in those decisive games. 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 (2008).

Staying Close to Home
Despite featuring just two home games in the first four weeks of the season, the Sooners have left the state of Oklahoma just once for last Friday’s game at Missouri State. OU’s first two games were road contests but were played at Oklahoma State and at Tulsa. Seven of OU’s remaining 13 games will be played on the road.

20 Deep?
OU showcased what is probably Nicole Nelson’s deepest squad in the season opener at then-No. 19 OSU. Twenty players saw time in the season opener, including eight freshmen. Caitlin Mooney (sophomore) and Carrie Whigham (freshman) were the only two newcomers to start the game. In 2009, 22 players saw time on the field. In 2008, Nelson played 18 different Sooners.

Palmer’s Hot Streaks
Following two goals last weekend, senior Whitney Palmer has scored in three straight games for the fifth time in her career. Since starting the season scoreless after three contests, Palmer has tallied a goal in each of the last three games. In 2009, she recorded two such streaks, each featuring five goals, and became the second Sooner in program history to score in four straight games (Lauren MacIver scored in four straight in 2005). Palmer started her career with four goals in three games played in 2007 and also had a three-game streak in 2008.

Newcomers Making their Mark
Nine newcomers (eight true freshmen) have logged minutes out of the 23 players to see the field in 2010, including seven starters. In addition, four out of OU’s seven goals scored in 2010 have come off the foots of newcomers, including three from freshmen (Zoe Dickson, Annalisa Hall and Samantha Howell).Caitlin Mooney, a sophomore transfer from Maryland, is responsible for the other newcomer goal while senior Whitney Palmer has three goals.

Palmer Nets 30th; Climbing OU Charts
Palmer already is among the program’s most prolific goal scorers in OU history, currently ranking in the top five of 11 different offensive categories, including second place with 32 career goals and 68 points.

Below is a look at her OU records:

Career Records
2nd with 32 goals (two behind Logan Womack)
2nd with 68 points (seven behind Logan Womack)
T-3rd with seven game-winning goals
3rd with 181 shots

Single Season Records
1st with 15 goals in 2009
1st with 32 points in 2009
4th with eight goals in 2008
10th with 16 points in 2008
T-3rd with four game winners in 2007

Misc. Records
T-1st with three goals in a game
T-1st with goals in four consecutive games
T-1st with two assists in one game

Devonshire’s Shutouts
In 2009, goalkeeper Kelsey Devonshire set an OU freshman record with six shutouts. She has started all 25 games and played all but 15 minutes of those contests since stepping foot on campus. Devonshire has two shutouts in 2010 against Tulsa and Rice. She ranks fourth all-time for shutouts in a career at OU.

Below is a look at the players listed above her:

1 - Catharine Wade (2001-04) 18
2 - Jennifer Nichols (2004-07) 16
3 - Jana Cunningham (1999-2002) 11
4 - Kelsey Devonshire (2009-present) 8

Palmer Named Preseason All-Big 12
OU senior forward Whitney Palmer was named to the 2010 All-Big 12 soccer preseason team as voted on by the conference’s coaches. The Plano, Texas, native is the first Sooner to be selected to the preseason team twice in her career after appearing on the list last season. In 2009, Palmer became the first player in program history to lead the team outright in goals scored in three consecutive seasons after finishing the year with a school-record 15 scores. That total ranked 12th nationally and second in the Big 12 Conference.

Palmer Up for Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award
Senior forward Whitney Palmer was one of 30 NCAA women’s soccer candidates included on the Aug. 18 listing for the 2010 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. A two-time Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll honoree and member of the President and Dean’s Honor Roll, Palmer has excelled on the field and holds five OU records and ranks second all-time with 29 goals.





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