March 28, 2003
NORMAN, Okla. - The Oklahoma soccer team continued competition in the spring with trips to Tennessee and Arizona. OU completed games at the Germantown Soccer Club/Fury College Challenge in Memphis, Tenn., on March 1 and also played Arizona State and Purdue in Tempe, Ariz., on March 8.
Saturday March 1, 2003
Germantown Soccer Club/Fury College Challenge - Memphis, Tenn.
Oklahoma 2, Mississippi State 0
After graduating eight players from the 2002 squad, many Sooners began their college playing careers during the weekend as others gained experience playing in different positions on the field. OU started the game playing a 4-4-2 system that was an adjustment from the 3-4-3 played in the fall.
"With the changing of personal, we have to be prepared to adjust to new systems of play that will best accentuate our strengths and hide any weakness," said OU head soccer coach Randy Evans.
Whether it was playing for the first time in four months or playing an unfamiliar formation or a combination of both, the Sooners started the first half a bit sluggish. Although OU controlled the ball, the Sooners were not able to mount many scoring opportunities and gave up a goal on State's only shot on goal for the half.
The Sooners overcame the 1-0 deficit and the sluggish field conditions to score two goals late in the second half.
Midfielder Shelly Sims slid one past the goalkeeper to tie the game, and minutes later, forward Logan Womack broke through the defense and put the ball over the goalkeeper's outstretched arms to seal the victory. A shift back to a familiar formation and a defensive adjustment allowed the Sooners to take control of the game.
Ohio State 1, Oklahoma 0
After having trudged through mud and a soaked field for a full game, the Sooners took on the Ohio State Buckeyes, the reigning Big Ten tournament champions, in the Mike Rose Soccer Complex Stadium.
"I knew we had to be able to keep possession of the ball against a fresh OSU team," said Evans. "We were coming off a hard-fought game less than two hours before and it was going to be their first game of the day. We ended up not being able to match their energy level and got up on the defensive, although we did create a couple of easy chances."
Even with a couple of great scoring opportunities, the Sooners could not capitalize on their chances. The Buckeyes took advantage of a missed clearance by the Oklahoma defense well into the second half of play and gained the 1-0 victory.
Oklahoma 1, NSA Lasers 0
The Sooners faced the Naperville Lasers soccer club in the final game of the weekend. Heidi Martinson scored the only goal of the game on a one-on-one breakaway.
The team continued to dominate and came away with the 1-0 victory. The close score didn't reflect the high level of play that the Sooners brought to the game. Coach Randy Evans took this opportunity to give everyone on the team playing time and to play some in unfamiliar positions in order to rest a few starters, evaluate individual play, and to test out a new playing formation.
Saturday March 8, 2003
Arizona State 2, Oklahoma 1
Rarely does a spring contest come close to the speed and intensity of a regular season game but that was just the case in this game. Most of the first half was played between the boxes with neither team giving up many opportunities to score and the game was scoreless at the half.
The Sooners got on the scoreboard first on a breakaway goal by Logan Womack from a Heidi Martinson pass over the defense. ASU was able to capitalize on a defensive mistake to tie the score about fifteen minutes later.
"We were working on some risky things in the back and I told the team I didn't care if it ended up costing us a goal," said Evans. "It certainly did, but we just couldn't pass up this opportunity to try work on parts of our game under pressure."
With the game tied 1 to 1, Logan again got loose for a breakaway, beat the keeper and was taken down for an apparent penalty kick but was only rewarded a corner for her effort. Minutes later ASU hit a high shot from outside the box that found the back of the net to give ASU the 2-1 win.
Evans admits, "It was a nice shot and a good effort from Emily, but probably a routine save for Catherine."
Sooner Red-shirt Freshman and field player Emily Frye showed her versatility and willingness to help the team by playing goalkeeper in the second half to replace the injured Catherine Wade.
Oklahoma 0, Purdue 0
With one game under their belt for the day, the Sooners took on Purdue University of the Big Ten Conference. Even though Purdue had not yet played a game and had enough players to form two new teams of 11 for each half of play, the Sooners outran and outplayed the Boilermakers.
But after two full halves and a 10-minute overtime period, the game remained scoreless.
The Sooners dominated most of the play while continuing to experiment with players in unfamiliar positions.
"I was afraid we were not going to able to match Purdue's energy level since they hadn't played yet which would have been a repeat of the Ohio State game from the weekend before," said Evans. "The difference was that we were sharper with the ball and able to keep possession better with a weekend of games under our belt. Fatigue ended up not playing a factor and I was very happy with our play, even though we lacked the burst of energy to get a goal."