Sooners Ready for West Coast Trip

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
SEPTEMBER 13, 2007

Sept. 13, 2007

>> Week 3 Game Notes (PDF)

NORMAN, Okla. -- The OU soccer team is unbeaten in 2007 at 3-0-1 and will take that record out west to California this weekend to battle Long Beach State (2-3) and Cal State Fullerton (1-2-1).

The Sooners will begin the weekend in Long Beach to battle the 49ers at 5 p.m. (PT) at George Allen Field.  The game will mark the first meeting between Oklahoma and Long Beach State. 

On Sunday, OU will meet another first time opponent, Cal State Fullerton.   The Sooners and Titans are slated to begin action at noon (PT) at Titan Stadium.

Live stats and video will not be available on Friday in Long Beach.  On Sunday, will provide a free audio link and a web cast is also available (subscription).

Oklahoma (3-0-1) vs. Long Beach State (2-3)
Friday, Sept. 14 - 5 p.m.
Long Beach, Calif. - George Allen Field

The 49ers, ranked No. 23 last week, are looking to end their three-game losing streak this weekend at home.  LBSU is 1-0 at George Allen Field this season after claiming a 1-0 overtime victory over Utah.  Since that win, the 49ers have suffered consecutive losses to three top 25 teams in Wake Forest (No. 24), Clemson (No. 20) and most recently on Tuesday, Brigham Young (No. 24). 

LBSU is outscoring its opponents 7-4 in 2007 and is led by freshman forward Nikki Myers, who has three goals.

The 49ers return 16 letterwinners and nine starters from a squad that finished the 2006 season at 14-5-1 overall and won the Big West regular season title at 5-1-1.  Long Beach was picked to win the conference again this season by the league's coaches.

Oklahoma (3-0-1) vs. Cal State Fullerton (1-2-1)
Sunday, Sept. 16 - noon
Fullerton, Calif. - Titan Stadium

Cal State Fullerton will host California in its home opener on Friday before taking on Oklahoma two days later.  The Titans are coming off a successful weekend that featured a win over Washington (3-1) and a near upset of No. 1 Portland (2-1).  The Titans also split during their opening weekend with a tie against Idaho State and a loss to UNLV. 

Senior midfielder Stacey Thompson and junior defender Jenae Gibbens lead the Titans' offense with two goals apiece.  Cal State Fullerton has been outscored, 6-5, in its four games this season.

After winning the Big West Tournament and making their second-straight NCAA appearance in 2006 - and third overall in the history of the program - the Titans were picked to finish fourth in the league this season.  CSF returns 14 letterwinners and six starters from the 2006 team that finished 12-8-2 overall and 4-2-1 in the Big West.

The Sooners remained unbeaten in 2007 after picking up a win and a tie in the Tribe Invitational in Williamsburg, Va. last weekend. OU opened the tournament by defeating William and Mary, 2-1, on Friday.  In Sunday's finale, OU tied Virginia Commonwealth, 0-0, after double overtime. 

VIDEO: WEEKLY PRACTICE REPORT sat down with OU head coach Randy Evans and senior captain Allyson Kucera at Wednesday's practice to discuss this weekend's opponents and recap last weekend at the Tribe Invitational. 

Wednesday Practice-Report
Video  Coach Evans talks about the team's first road trip and the win over William & Mary
Video  Evans recaps the VCU game and discusses OU's injury report
Video  Senior captain Allyson Kucera on the weekend in Williamsburg
Video  Coach Evans previews this weekend's opponents
Video  Evans on two Sooners winning Big 12 awards

The Sooners return home, after travelling 5,433 miles over the past two weekends to Virginia and California, to host North Texas and Middle Tennessee in the Sooner Invitational.  OU will play the Mean Green on Friday, Sept. 21 at 7:30 p.m.  The Sooners will conclude tourney action against Middle Tennessee at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 23.  Other games include: Long Beach vs. Middle Tennessee at 4:30 p.m. on Friday and Long Beach vs. North Texas at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

After two weeks of action, Oklahoma sits fourth in the overall standings behind Missouri (4-0), Oklahoma State (4-0) and Baylor (4-0-1).  OU's 14 goals rank third in the Big 12 and it also ranks fourth in assists (10) and points (38). 

Traditionally, the Sooners have always had a strong defense and that trend has held true so far in 2007.  OU has allowed the second fewest goals (2) in the Big 12 and its two shutouts, is tied for third overall.  Anchoring the defense is senior Jenny Nichols, who ranks second in the league with a 0.53 goals-against average.

Despite being shutout for the first time this season against VCU, freshman forward Whitney Palmer,along with two other Big 12 players, lead the conference with four goals scored.  In addition, Palmer sits lone atop the game-winning goals category with three.  After scoring the decisive goal against William and Mary last weekend, Palmer was honored by the conference as the Big 12's Newcomer of the Week, a first for the Plano, Texas, native.

Along with freshman Whitney Palmer, senior goalkeeper Jenny Nichols was also honored by the league office this week.  Nichols was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week after limiting William and Mary to one goal on Friday and shutting out VCU on Sunday in 110 minutes of action.  The award was the third in Nichols' career (Sept. 12, 2006 and Aug. 29, 2005) and it also marked the second time in program history that two Sooners were honored in the same week (Oct. 1, 2002 - Lauren MacIver, newcomer, and Logan Womack, offensive).

After four games in 2007, eight different Sooners have contributed to the 14 goal total.  In addition, eight Sooners have tallied assists.  In 2006, OU scored 30 goals and had 11 different goal scorers (10 on assists).

For the third time in school history, the Sooners (3-0-1) are unbeaten after four games.   The Sooners most recently began the 2004 season with a 2-0-2 mark and finished the year at 7-8-3.  In 2002, OU won its first six games and finished 11-8-0 overall.

For the first time this season the Sooners are ranked in both (NSCAA and Soccer Buzz) Central Region Polls.  OU did not appear in the preseason or week one polls, but sit at No. 9 and No. 10 this week in the NSCAA and Soccer Buzz rankings, respectively.  Refer to page five for complete listings.

 In his ninth year at OU, head coach Randy Evans is 46-20-6 (.681) against non-conference opponents. The Sooners finished 2006 with a 5-4 mark against teams outside of the Big 12.  In 2005, OU posted its best non-conference record (8-1, .889 winning percentage) in program history.  The last time OU had a losing non-conference record was during the 1999 season, Evans' first year.

Senior goalkeeper Jenny Nichols recorded her first shutout of the season on Sunday against Virginia Commonwealth.  It marked the 15th of Nichols career, a mark that ranks second all-time at OU behind Catherine Wade's 18.  Earlier this season, Nichols split time on Aug. 31 with redshirt freshman Tara Macdonald during the Sooners' first shutout of 2007.  Overall, the Sooners have held opponents to one goal or less in 28 games under Nichols in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

OU will face seven first-time opponents in 2007, including Alabama A&M, William & Mary, Virginia Commonwealth, Long Beach State, Cal State Fullerton, Middle Tennessee and Butler.  OU finished 2006 with a 3-4 record against first time opponents (wins over Michigan State, Stephen F. Austin and Northern Iowa and losses versus Washington, Hawaii, Michigan and Purdue).

The Sooners set a program record for most for goals scored in a season opener in the 8-0 win over Alabama A&M on Aug. 31.  OU broke the record established on Sept. 1, 1997, when it opened the year with a six-goal performance against Tulsa.

The win over Alabama A&M was also largest margin of victory in school history.  The previous high came during the Sooners' 8-1 victory over Drury on Sept. 1, 1997. 

Friday's scoring total also tied a school record for goals scored, also established in the 1997 game against Drury.

Senior Audri Habibi and freshman Whitney Palmer each tallied two-goal games over the weekend.  Habibi scored both her goals during the Alabama A&M game and Palmer found the back of the net twice against Oral Roberts.  Kady Kelly (2003-06) was the last Sooner to score two goals in a game.  Kelly scored twice against Stephen F. Austin on Sept. 10, 2006. 

Under head coach Randy Evans, the Sooners are 32-0-1 when scoring three or more goals.  The lone tie in that span came against Texas on Oct. 6, 2006 in Austin.  The Sooners eclipsed the three-goal mark  on three occasions last season.

Senior Colleen Keester tied a school record during Friday's 8-0 win over Alabama A&M.  Keester's two-assist performance was the 12th time in school history that a Sooner assisted on two goals  in a game.  The last Sooner to accomplish the feat is current senior Audri Habibi.  She assisted on two goals on Oct. 8, 2006 versus Iowa State.

The 2007 class, which has been labeled by the OU coaching staff as the program's top recruiting class, produced in the first weekend of the season.  Five of the freshmen (Lauren Alkek, Kelsey Allison, Ashley Bolden, Tiana Dickson and Whitney Palmer) started the season opener and four freshmen (Allison, Dickson, Palmer and Caitlin Stojkovic) tallied goals in the game.   Overall,  OU has 14 freshmen on the roster and 11 of those newcomers (three redshirts) in the opener.

Oklahoma is 5-1-1 in the last seven season openers.  The Sooners' five-game unbeaten streak ended last year when they dropped a 1-0 decision to Washington.  The tie in that span came in 2004 against Saint Louis in Norman.  OU is 6-5-1 lifetime in the first game of the year, including a 2-1-1 record at home.

Freshmen Lauren Alkek (Victoria, Texas) and Whitney Palmer (Plano, Texas) were selected to U.S. National Select Women's Team (Under-23) as announced by the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA) on July 9.   The two Sooners were part of a group of 32 members vying for spots on the national team at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

The Sooners return eight starters and 14 letterwinners from the 2006 squad that finished the year at 8-11-1.  In addition, four players return with three years of starting experience in Shana All, Lauren Harris, Allyson Kucera and Jenny Nichols.  Kucera has started the most games (57) than any other Sooner on the roster prior to the 2007 season.

The OU Athletics Department completed Phase II of the OU Soccer Complex, a $4.5 million renovation last season.   The addition of a state-of-the-art press box and grandstand, which increases seating capacity to 3,500, is joined by a multi-use building located between the soccer complex and the Headington Family Tennis Center.

Video Click here to take a tour of the facility with head coach Randy Evans.

A live web cast will provided for select games this season and will be available on Oklahoma All-Access,'s paid site.  Lives stats will also be available for free for all of OU's home games and a portion of the road contests.  Both links can be accessed on soccer's schedule page. The All-Access purchase helps support OU Athletics and memberships are available monthly for $9.95 or annually for $99.95.  Below is a look at this season's schedule:

Friday, Aug. 31 
Alabama A&M - 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 2 
Oral Roberts - 3 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 4 
Baylor - 7 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 19 
Texas Tech - 7 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 26 
Colorado - 7 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 28 
Texas - 1 p.m.
0 - Tara Macdonald - Made first career appearance during the season opener ... Combined with Jennifer Nichols for the first shutout of the season ... Second tallest Sooner on the roster ... One of three Sooners to redshirt in 2006.

1 - Jenny Nichols - Started season opener at goalkeeper ... Recorded her 15th career shutout against VCU ... Combined with Tara Macdonald for the first shutout of the season ... Three-year starter who played every minute of the 2005 and 2006 seasons ... Second all-time at OU with 15 career shutouts ... Two-time Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week ... Led the Big 12 with seven shutouts in 2005.

2 - Ashley Farrand - Started all four games of the 2007 season ... Made the most starts (13) than any other freshman last season ... Ranked fourth on the club with three assists.

3 - Helen Ajufo - Has not seen action in 2007 ... Two-year starter on defense ... 2006 CoSIDA Academic All-District second team.

4 - Ashley Bolden - One of five freshman to start the first four games of the season ... Started preseason game against SMU on defense.

5 - Tiana Dickson - Scored first goal of career against Alabama A&M on Aug. 31 ... One of four freshman to start the first four games of the season ... Sister of former OU softball All-American Norelle Dickson ... Started the preseason game against SMU in the midfield.

6 - Lauren Alkek - Named to the U-23 U.S. National Select Team in July ... Started first two games of the season ...  Missed last two games with knee injury ...  Started the preseason game against SMU up top.

7 - Audri Habibi - One of two Sooners to score two goals in a game this season (Alabama A&M) ... Recorded five points (two goals and an assist) against Alabama A&M ... Ranked third among Sooners in 2006 with four multi-point games ... Big 12 Newcomer of the Week on Oct. 10, 2006 ... Second on the 2006 squad with five assists.

8 - Whitney Palmer - Tied for the Big 12 lead with three goals and six points ... Scored first goal of career against Alabama A&M on Aug. 31 ... One of two Sooners to score two goals in a game this season (Oral Roberts) ... One of five freshman to start the first two games of the season ... Named to the U-23 U.S. National Select Team in July.

9 - Kelsey Allison - Scored first goal of career against Alabama A&M on Aug. 31 ... One of four freshman to start the first four games of the season.

11 - Shana All - Started every game of the 2007 season ... Three-year starter who ranks fifth in OU history with 11 assists and fifth with four game-winning goals.

12 - Lauren Harris - Senior captain ... Started every game of the 2007 season and assisted on first goal of the year against Alabama A&M ... Three-year starter with 58 career starts ... 10 career assists ranks sixth in OU history ... Moved to defense in the spring after playing in the midfield the previous three years.

13 - Caitlin Stojkovic - Scored first goal of career against Alabama A&M on Aug. 31 ...  Made first start against William & Mary ... Redshirted her freshman season at South Carolina ... Can play any position on the field.

14 - Kate Leyendecker - Tied for second on the team with five points ... Scored a goal off the bench in each of the first two games ... Recorded first career assist Played in nine games as a freshman in 2006 ... Scored lone goal against Northern Iowa.

16 - Tenesha Duncan - Came off the bench in first two games to tally an assist and a goal ... Senior's nine career goals ranks second on the Sooners' current roster and ninth all-time at OU ... Played in 47 career games (17 starts) but limited in 2006 with injuries (knee and concussion).

17 - Kate Marr - Came off the bench in season opener ... Made two starts and played in 16 games in 2006.
18 - Allyson Kucera - Started every game of the 2007 season ... Senior captain ... Three-year starter who leads the current roster with 10 career goals, total ranks eighth in OU history ... Leads the team with 61 career starts.

19 - Colleen Keester - Recorded the 12th two-assist game in program history in season opener, tying a school record ... Senior with 58 games played in the midfield and up top ... Made first career start last season and started seven games overall.

20 - Charla Baker - Sophomore scored first career goal against Alabama A&M ... Saw time in one game against Northern Iowa in 2006.

21 - Brianne Frost - Freshman with three games played off the bench in 2007.

22 - Claire West - Freshman defender came off the bench against Alabama A&M and VCU.

24 - Katie Corbitt - Started every game in 2007 ... Two-year starter on defense ... 2006 Academic All-Big 12 first team member.

25 - Ashley Mumma - Freshman defender came off the bench against Alabama A&M and VCU.

26 - Ashlee Coleman - Redshirt freshman made first appearance in season opener.

44 - Traci Dickenson - Junior played in season opener ... Also lettered in softball over the last two seasons and was an All-Region and All-Big 12 honoree at 2B in 2007.




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