Aug. 14, 2009
NORMAN, Okla. -- Junior Sage Coralli found the back of the net on a loose ball in the box in the second overtime as OU topped Arkansas, 1-0, in exhibition play on Friday at the OU Soccer Complex.
After creating numerous scoring opportunities throughout the game, including eight shots in the second half, the Sooners’ tallied the game’s lone goal in the 103rd minute.
Just over two minutes into the second overtime, OU created the opportunity as a ball was played over top the Arkansas defense and junior forward Whitney Palmer, who was credited with the assist, collided with Arkansas goalkeeper Brittany Hudson. The result was a loose ball that Coralli quickly gathered for the game winner.
“It’s a hard-fought win against a good Arkansas team,” said OU Head Coach Nicole Nelson. “We were a little too patient (on offense). We were creating all of these beautiful combinations and at times we need to just pull the trigger. We put a lot of good things together in the attack, we still have some adjustments to make defensively, but what we talked about at halftime, they were able to apply in the second half.”
The Sooners started three true freshmen and put 17 players on the field in the 103 minutes.
“To get some players playing time and to get some of these freshmen experience is huge,” added Nelson “A win is a win and nothing breeds confidence like winning.”
Coralli and Kelsey Kraft led OU with four shots apiece to lead an aggressive offense that reported for preseason practices just over a week ago.
“We have a lot of team chemistry and I think having a win behind us will give us confidence going into the regular season,” said Coralli.
Palmer was also active throughout the game and had two chances in the first half, one a shot just wide in the 33rd minute and another with two minutes left in the half that Arkansas goalkeeper Kendal Winston saved.
Leading the shot count, 6-2, after the first 45 minutes, the Sooners came out of the gate quick in the second session. OU fired four shots within a two-minute span to begin the half but was unable to put the Razorbacks away.
Arkansas created its share of scoring chances and the best came with 14 minutes remaining on a high save by freshman goalkeeper Kelsey Devonshire. The first-year Sooner made three saves in the contest to preserve the win.
The Sooners led the shot count, 16-9, but trailed 6-3 on corner kicks. The teams also met during the spring season and OU won 2-0 back on April 4 in Norman.
The Sooners will open the regular season a week from today at home against Missouri State. On Aug. 23, OU remains home to host Sam Houston State as fans are admitted free.