Oct. 11, 2009
LINCOLN, Neb. -- The battle of the nation’s No. 1 and No. 2 goal scorers lived up to the billing on Sunday at the Nebraska Soccer Complex as the Cornhuskers topped the Sooners 5-2.
Nebraska’s Morgan Marlborough and OU’s Whitney Palmer entered Sunday’s contest with 16 and 12 goals, respectively. Despite both players being held scoreless in Friday’s games, the duo combined for five goals on Sunday. Palmer recorded her third multi-goal game of the season with two scores but Marlborough countered with a hat trick.
Palmer's 14 goals this season eclipses the previous school record (13) recorded by Logan Womack in 2001. Her 30 points in 2009 is also a single season best in Sooner history. In addition, she moved into sole possession of second place at OU with 28 career goals.
The Sooners (7-7-1, 2-4 Big 12) were looking to give their second straight Big 12 opponent its first home loss of the year after Friday’s 1-0 win at Iowa State, but were unsuccessful on Sunday. Nebraska is 7-0-2 at home in 2009 and improved to 8-2-3 overall and 2-1-2 in Big 12 play.
“It’s a tough loss,” said OU Head Coach Nicole Nelson. “You have to give credit to Nebraska and Morgan Marlborough. They have an explosive offense and they won the one versus one battles in the second half. We created good goal scoring opportunities but came up a little short. I was proud of the way we battled on the road and in cold conditions, especially in the first half, but we clearly can’t afford to give up three second half goals.”
Palmer gave OU a 1-0 lead at the 16:16 mark on Michelle Alexander’s third assist of the season, but the Sooners trailed 2-1 at the half even though the Plano,Texas, native has scored in five of the last six games, including seven in that span.
Later in the first half, Marlborough matched Palmer’s first goal with a score in the 19th minute and then gave Nebraska the lead at the 24:51 mark. The two-goal swing put the Sooners in a situation they have not rebounded from all season as OU entered Sunday’s game with an 0-5 record when trailing at the half.
Jordan Jackson gave Nebraska a 3-1 lead after one minute and 29 seconds ticked off the clock in the second half, but just as it looked like the Cornhuskers were pulling away, Palmer struck again for the Sooners.
At the 61:58 mark, Palmer dribbled down the right side of the field and beat NU goalkeeper Jessica Mills one-on-one to narrow the lead back down to one.
Nebraska pulled away with two more scores in the 76th and 84th minute and improved to 12-2 in the all-time series with OU.
The Sooners faced even colder conditions on Sunday after playing in game time temperatures below 50 degrees in Ames, Iowa, on Friday. The temperature dipped below 40 degrees on Sunday in Lincoln by game’s end.
“It’s no secret that we are playing banged up and on top of that, we didn’t have Lauren Alkek because of Friday’s yellow card. With that said, I think our team handled the adversity and showed a lot of fight today. I am happy with the growth I’ve seen in this team in the last two weeks and we are looking forward to returning home.” added Nelson.
Junior Lauren Alkek missed Sunday’s game after being issued her fifth yellow card of the season at Iowa State.
Next weekend, OU (1-5-1 on the road) returns to the friendly confines of John Crain Field where it will host three of the last four games. The Sooners welcome Kansas at 7 p.m. on Oct. 16 and Missouri at 1 p.m. on Oct. 18. All four of OU’s remaining regular season games will be played in the state of Oklahoma. The Bedlam Series is set for Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. in Stillwater.