Oct. 14, 2007
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- The OU soccer team rallied from a 1-0 halftime deficit on Sunday, at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex, to top Kansas 2-1 in Big 12 play. Senior Allyson Kucera scored both Sooner goals in the victory.
The Sooners received a much needed win after falling to 1-4 in conference action on Friday with a 3-0 loss at No. 12 Missouri.
With Sunday's win, OU upped its record to 6-6-2 overall and 2-4 in the Big 12. Sunday's game also marked the Sooners' first road win of the season in conference action (second overall on the year).
Kansas dropped to 1-2-2 in the Big 12 and 3-9-3.
"This is a huge win because we needed to get a result this weekend on the road," said OU head coach Randy Evans. "We have struggled away from home this season and even after the loss to Missouri on Friday, we didn't lose our confidence since we did a lot of things well."
The Sooners fell behind in the first half after Kansas' Jessica Bush found the back of the net in the 37th minute. The goal marked the eighth time this season that OU allowed the first goal of the game. Entering Sunday, OU was 2-5 when the opposition scored first.
Despite the early deficit, OU rallied for the third time this season. The Sooners also came back to defeat Baylor, 3-1, last weekend at home and topped William and Mary, 2-1, on Sept. 7, the first and only other road win of the season.
"I was proud of the team's response today," added Evans. "I thought both teams played really well and the game could have gone either way. At halftime, I told the team that this was a test of our character and we fought hard and showed a tremendous amount of heart. A loss today really would have set us back, but we came through."
The OU rally was made possible by the play of the team's veterans. OU started seven freshmen on Sunday but it was Kucera, the senior captain, who capped the comeback. Kucera scored her first and second goals of the season in the second half, both scores coming on OU free kicks.
Kucera tied the game with a header on senior Lauren Harris' free kick in the 52nd minute. In the 83rd minute, Kucera tallied the go-ahead goal on junior Katie Corbit's free kick. The game-winning goal was the third of Kucera's career.
"The difference in today's game was our play in the air," said Evans. "We scored both goals off set pieces in the air and it was great to see Ally, a senior, win the game for us. Even with all of our young talent, today's game showed that you need the upper classmen to step up and display their leadership."
The Sooners also received stellar play on the defensive side of the ball from another senior, Jenny Nichols. After redshirt freshman goalie Tara Macdonald left the game with a back injury, Nichols stepped up in the second half.
In the 89th minute, Nichols deflected Bush's shot off the post to preserve the win. Nichols made five saves in her first action since Sept. 16 at Cal State Fullerton to improve to 4-2-1 on the season.
A four-game home stand awaits the Sooners as they get it started on Friday, Oct. 19 at Texas Tech. The Sooners and Red Raiders will begin at 7 p.m. at John Crain Field. OU will also host Butler (Oct. 21), Colorado (Oct. 26) and No. 4 Texas (Oct. 28) in the longest home stand of the season.
"This is such a huge win for this team filled with freshmen. It's no secret that we play better at home and have struggled on the road. We play with more confidence on our field and our schedule sets up nicely at the end of the season for us. I think this mixture of freshmen and upper classmen are finally gelling and playing well."
OU, 2-5 on the road this season, has one road game remaining at Oklahoma State on Nov. 1 for the season finale.