Game 18: Friday, Oct. 29 (7 p.m.)
Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State
The Sooners (7-7-3 overall, 3-6-0 Big 12) close out the regular season on Friday with a must-win game against Oklahoma State (11-5-2 overall, 3-5-1 Big 12). The Bedlam Series presented by the Bank of Oklahoma and Your Oklahoma Ford Dealers will get underway at 7 p.m. (CDT) at John Crain Field. The game will mark the first time in three years that the teams will battle in Norman.
Because Oklahoma defeated Nebraska (1-0) and Oklahoma State lost to Colorado (1-0) on Sunday, the annual rivalry will be even more competitive. The winner of the annual Bedlam Series game will advance to the Big 12 Tournament while the loser’s season will end. If a tie occurs, OSU will advance with 11 points over OU’s 10 points. This marks the third time in the last four years that the Bedlam game will decide a spot in the annual conference tournament. OU ended OSU’s postseason chances in 2001 and advanced as the sixth seed with a 2-1 overtime triumph in Norman. In 2002, OSU was down 2-0 before it rallied for a 3-2 victory in Stillwater, ending the Sooners’ postseason chances. Both teams advanced to last year’s conference tournament with Oklahoma (No. 6 seed) dropping out in the first round and OSU (No. 7 seed) winning the event.
“This puts an interesting twist on an already heated rivalry and the emotions are going to be high,” said Oklahoma head coach Randy Evans. “Seven of the eight all-time meetings in the series have been decided by one goal, so Friday should be an exciting atmosphere.”
Colorado handed OU its third straight loss (4-0) last Friday before junior Becky Nelson snapped the streak by scoring the game-winning goal against Nebraska two days later. Senior captain Catherine Wade anchored the OU defense against the Cornhuskers, making five saves and recording her third shutout of the season.
|See how the Sooners stack up against OSU in the Bedlam Series presented by the Bank of Oklahoma and Your Oklahoma Ford Dealers!|
Oklahoma State comes to Norman after losing to Nebraska on Friday and Colorado on Sunday, 2-0 and 1-0, respectively. The Cowgirls roster sports three players with 20 points or more. Senior forward Jolene Schweitzer leads the squad with 22 points and 10 goals. Meanwhile, senior midfielder Nikki Wojtowicz leads the team in assists with 13. In net, freshman Breanna owns a 1.37 goals-against average with one shutout. She is 10-4-2 on the season with 57 saves.
In eight all-time meetings in the Bedlam Series, OSU leads 6-1-1. The two battled to a scoreless tie last year in Stillwater. In the eight contests, only one contest has been decided by more than one goal.
Gates will open at 6 p.m. at John Crain Field on the corner of Imhoff Road and Chautauqua Avenue. The first 500 fans will receive a free OU pom-pom. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children. Discount rates are available for groups of 10 or more at $3 a ticket. OU students receive free admission with a valid student ID. For more information, contact the OU ticket office at 800-456-GoOU.
Seven Oklahoma seniors will be honored after Friday’s regular season finale against Oklahoma State. Samantha Faulkner, Hollee Fink, Keara Jones, Kirstin Karfonta, Abby Mann, Catherine Wade and Erin Young will all be recognized in a postgame ceremony. As a group, they have contributed to the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance (2003), two Big 12 Tournament appearances (2001, 2003) and the program’s first national top-25 ranking (2003).
Senior goalkeeper Catherine Wade recorded her third shutout of the season when OU blanked Nebraska (1-0) on Sunday. Wade is 4-3-1 this season and has played in 13 games. She ranks third in the Big 12 with a 0.77 goals-against average and second in save percentage with a .865 mark. OU’s all-time leader in shutouts, Wade has blanked 18 opponents in her career.
Sophomore Savannah Scott is having an impressive sophomore campaign for the Sooners. Scott leads the team in points (13) and in goals (6). Four goals have come in Big 12 play. Scott also has an assist this season. Last year, Scott recorded four assists and four goals, ranking her second and third, respectively, on the team.
FIRST GOAL IS CRUCIAL
The Sooners have scored first in all but six games this season. In those six games (against San Diego State, Oral Roberts, Texas, Iowa State, Kansas and Colorado), OU is 0-5-1. In its other 11 contests, OU is 7-2-2 when posting the game’s first goal. Savannah Scott has four of the initial scores and freshman Allyson Kucera has three.
CENTRAL REGION POLLS
After last weekend’s split, OU moved its way back into this week’s NSCAA/adidas Central Region poll at No. 9. The Sooners made their initial appearance in the poll five weeks ago at No. 7. OU also moved up two spots to No. 12 in this week’s Soccer Buzz Central Region poll. The Sooners have been as high as No. 9 on two occasions this season in the Soccer Buzz poll.
DEFENSE KEEPS IT CLOSE
Thirteen of OU’s 17 games this season have been decided by one goal or none. In two of the other four contests, the Sooners bested TCU and Tulsa 5-0 and 3-1, respectively. The remaining two games saw OU drop a 3-0 decision against Kansas and a 4-0 contest at Colorado. Traditionally, defense has been a trademark for OU under head coach Randy Evans. This season is no different as OU has limited opposing teams to one goal or none in 11 games (four shutouts). OU has allowed 22 goals this season (1.23 GAA) and scored the exact same number on offense.
The Sooners have played 10 of their last 14 games away from John Crain Field and they own a 5-4-1 in those nine contests. OU is 5-4 in road games and 0-0-1 at neutral sites this season. OU recorded the program’s first winning regular season road record this year. Its previous best road mark was in 2000 (4-5).
Junior Becky Nelson has been a solid contributor for OU this season. She scored goals in each of the Sooners’ last two victories (Nebraska and Texas Tech). Nelson ranks in the top three in every major team offensive category. She is tied for the lead in shots taken (39) and ranks second in both points (8) and shots on goal (19). Nelson is tied for second in goals (4) and assists (2). Last season, Nelson ied for the team lead in goals (6) and ranked second in points (14).
KUCERA IS KEY
Despite her solid efforts on defense for OU, freshman Allyson Kucera is getting more attention on offense as she is tied for second on the team in goals. On four occasions, Kucera has pushed up on offense to contribute scores on Sooner corner kicks. The Texas native already holds the record for most goals scored in a season by an OU defender (Sheri Whatley had two tallies in 1996).
SOONERS AT HOME UNDER EVANS
OU has made John Crain Field a tough road assignment for opponents over the years as it is 37-24-5 (.598) in its eight seasons. The winning percentage is even better under Randy Evans. Now in his sixth year, the Sooners are 29-16-7 (.625) at home under the head coach. Over the past three seasons, OU is 22-7-5 (.720) at John Crain Field.
ALL EQUALS ASSISTS
Freshman Shana All leads the team and ranks fourth in the Big 12 with six assists. Five of All’s six assists have come on perfectly placed corner kicks that found fellow Sooners in the box, three for net-finding headers by freshman Allyson Kucera and another by Michelle Enos. All also hooked up with freshman Tenesha Duncan for a goal on a cross against Tulsa. Lauren MacIver led OU in assists with five in 2003 and the all-time mark for assists in a season (8) was set in 2002 by Krissy Dawson.
OU VERSUS THE TOP 25
Oklahoma’s win over then-No. 9 Arizona State on Sept. 19 marked the highest ranked opponent OU has defeated since the 2000 season. On Oct. 15, 2000, in Lincoln, Neb., the Sooners defeated Nebraska, ranked No. 2 in the nation, 2-1. OU is 1-2-1 against the top 25 this year, with a 2-1 loss against then-No. 9 Texas A&M on Oct. 3, a 2-2 tie against then-No. 21 SMU on Aug. 29, and a 3-0 loss to then-No. 6 Kansas on Oct. 17.
FRESHMEN CATCHING ON QUICKLY
The 2004 freshman class has gained valuable experience throughout the season. Defender Lauren Harris, defender Allyson Kucera, midfielder Shana All and goalkeeper Jennifer Nichols have combined for 48 starts this season while two other frosh have seen significant time. Forward Colleen Keester has appeared in all but four games for the Sooners and forward Tenesha Duncan has appeared in nine games, each tallying a goal. As a whole, the freshman class has accounted for 33 percent of OU’s points this season (6 goals, 8 assists).
GET TO KNOW THE 2004 SOONERS
During the 2004 season, SoonerSports.com will bring you a weekly segment giving fans a inside look at the players on the OU Soccer team. Each week, a different player will be spotlighted answering questions varying from most embarrassing moments to nicknames and superstitions. Click here to access the main page that currently features senior Samantha Faulkner and freshman Tenesha Duncan.
SAMANTHA FAULKNER 2004 JOURNAL
Senior stopper and team captain Samantha Faulkner takes Sooner fans behind the scenes with her online journal as OU plays its 2004 season.