Sept. 23, 2007
NORMAN, Okla. -- The Oklahoma soccer team finished the Sooner Invitational on Sunday with a scoreless tie against Middle Tennessee. The game was the Sooners' third contest in the last five to be played in extra time.
The Sooners remained undefeated at home in 2007 and sit at 4-2-2 overall a week before the Big 12 season begins. The tie moves Middle Tennessee's record to 3-3-2.
Despite several scoring chances, the Sooners were held scoreless for the third time this season (T, 0-0 at Virginia Commonwealth and a 2-0 loss at Cal State Fullerton).
After a slow start, OU dominated the second half overtime and finished the game with 26 shots and 11 corner kicks to the Blue Raiders' 15 shots and eight corners. After halftime, the Sooners settled down and held a 22-10 advantage in shots over the final 65 minutes.
"It ended up being a pretty even game at halftime, a game that could of gone either way," said OU head coach Randy Evans. "I was really thrilled with how the team reacted to the poor first half. The intensity was much better, the pressure on the ball was much better and we could have had three or four goals with all the chances we had."
In the first half, OU senior Allyson Kucera found the back of the net off senior Tenesha Duncan's cross in the 13th minute, but the officials ruled offsides on the play and the goal was taken off the board.
The Sooners increased the pressure on the Blue Raiders' defense around the 68th minute and finished the half from that point on with 10 shots, two that hit the post and another that was saved on the back line by a MTSU defender, and seven corner kicks.
In the 73rd minute and 85th minute, it was Kucera again causing havoc for the Blue Raiders' defense with a pair of near misses, the first hitting the post off a header and the second saved by a MTSU defender on the line.
For the second straight game, the OU defense was anchored by redshirt freshman Tara Macdonald, who started her first career game on Friday in a 1-0 shutout over North Texas. Macdonald made six saves, including several key stops, to record her second consecutive shutout. Macdonald did not allow a goal in 110 minutes of action on Sunday and has not allowed a score in 245 minutes this season.
Macdonald's counterpart, Erynn Murray, was also stellar in the MTSU goal, making seven saves. Murray was pressured in the overtime periods, facing seven shots, including freshman Whitney Palmer's hard-hit shot that bounced off the crossbar with 2:20 left in the first overtime.
"The defense was great again and Tara, in her second start, made a couple of big saves and that was good to see," Evans said. "We need to take the pressure off the defense and put the game away when we have our chances to."
Oklahoma finished second in the Sooner Invitational with a 1-0-1 record and Macdonald was named the tournament's defensive MVP. Freshman Kelsey Allison and Palmer were also named to the all-tournament team. Long Beach State won the invitational with a 2-0 mark and placed five members on the team including offensive MVP Kim Silos (two goals and three assists).
The Sooners will get back to action next Friday when they open the Big 12 portion of the schedule at Nebraska at 4:30 p.m. Two days later, OU will travel to Ames, Iowa, to battle Iowa State on Sept. 30 at 1 p.m.
Hayley Bolt - Long Beach State
Kim Silos - Long Beach State
Sara Baca - Long Beach State
Kristen Kiefer - Long Beach State
Mariko Strickland - Long Beach State
Tara Macdonald - Oklahoma
Kelsey Allison - Oklahoma
Whitney Palmer - Oklahoma
Fran Howells - Middle Tennessee
Kelly Downs - Middle Tennessee
Dani Slavonic - North Texas
Offensive MVP - Kim Silos, Long Beach State (two goals and three assists)
Defensive MVP - Tara Macdonald, Oklahoma (two shutouts and 12 saves)