Aug. 23, 2009
NORMAN, Okla. -- After both teams were scoreless in the first 45 minutes, Kelsey Kraft tallied a goal on the opening kick of the second half en route to a 3-0 Sooner victory over visiting Sam Houston State on Sunday night. The Sooners improved to 2-0 in front of 609 fans at John Crain Field.
"The biggest difference (in the first half) was their entire team was sitting in their defensive end," said OU Head Coach Nicole Nelson. "It's really hard when an entire team is in one half of the field to play around them. That is where we were getting a little frustrated because we didn't have any space to combine and connect passes. We made some adjustments at halftime and talked about how to beat that (defense)."
The Sooners responded after halftime as Whitney Palmer and Michelle Alexander led the second-half charge.
Palmer recorded the assist on the first goal and also set up the third and final goal scored by Alexander in the 81st minute. Palmer moved into a tie for fifth place all-time at OU in goals scored on Friday night, but the junior was setting up the scores on Sunday and recorded the second and third assists of her career.
Alexander, a sophomore defender, also scored the Sooners' second goal in the 78th minute for her first career score.
While Alexander and Palmer each tallied four of the Sooners' 32 shots on the evening, freshman Dria Hampton, who tallied her second assist of the season on Alexander's first goal, had a game-high nine shots with five on goal. OU posted 14 shots on goal to Sam Houston's one and also led 5-0 in corner kicks.
The Sooners' could have scored at least two more goals in the second half as Alexander's blast in the 65th minute banged off the cross bar and Palmer had a shot deflect off the near post in the 70th minute.
While the offense was the highlight, the OU defense was solid again in limiting the opposition to just three shots on the night. Freshman goalkeeper Kelsey Devonshire made one save on the Bearkats' three shots for her second consecutive shutout.
The Sooners will have next week to prepare for the final two games of the four-game home stand. On Friday, Aug. 28, OU welcomes in-state rival Oral Roberts for a 7 p.m. showdown. On Sunday, Tulsa comes to Norman for a 7 p.m. start at John Crain Field.
"I would say I am happy with where we are at for this time of the year," added Nelson. "We're putting some very good things together in the attack and we're clicking in the attack like you do further into a season. I think the defense hasn't given up a goal in really three games (including exhibition), so they're pretty solid. We still have some adjustments defensively, so we are just going to continue working and solidifying some things on the defensive end and keep creating the goal-scoring opportunities that we are and finishing more of those."