Nov. 3, 2010
SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Ten years after recording its first win in the Big 12 Championship against Texas, the Sooner soccer team repeated the feat on Wednesday with a 1-0 victory over the No. 21 Longhorns at Blossom Soccer Stadium. The win in the quarterfinal round of the conference tournament was OU's first postseason appearance since 2006.
Sophomore forward Caitlin Mooney scored the first and only goal of the contest at the 14:01 mark in the first half.
"I am extremely proud of our performance," said head coach Nicole Nelson, who was named the Big 12 Co-Head Coach of the Year earlier this week. "Caitlin is a great finisher. She has done a great job all year and is extremely composed in front of the goal."
The Sooners (11-7-2), seeded fourth, snapped a five-game losing streak in the Big 12 Championship and recorded their first win over a ranked opponent this season. OU also topped the Longhorns (11-5-4), seeded fifth, 10 days ago in Austin and have swept two meetings in the same season for the first time since 2000.
Oklahoma will face the winner of No. 1 seed Texas A&M and No. 8 seed Colorado at 5:30 p.m. in the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 5. The Aggies and Buffaloes play Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. OU will be playing in its second semifinal game (first since 2000). The Sooners lost that bid to play for the conference championship, 1-0 in overtime, to then-No. 9 Texas A&M.
Mooney, a transfer from Maryland found the back of the net for the seventh time this season with a shot in the box and an assist from senior Whitney Palmer with 13:59 remaining in the first half. The Sooners are 10-2-1 in 2010 when striking first and have scored first in eight of the last 11 contests. In addition, OU is 6-1 when Mooney scores this season.
While the Sooners have been scoring first, they have not entered halftime with a lead since Oct. 10 at Kansas. After Wednesday's win, the Sooners improved to 6-1 when holding that advantage at intermission. In the second half, with just six minutes remaining, Mooney nearly put the Sooners ahead 2-0, but her blast was saved by a diving Alexa Gaul in the Texas net.
A native of Edmond, Okla., Mooney was recently named to the All-Big 12 Newcomer team and is the only Sooner to enter today's game with postseason experience. She played in four postseason games as a Terrapin and scored a goal en route to Maryland's NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in 2009.
"I think it helps you a lot, definitely towards the end of the game," said Mooney on her previous postseason experience.
Both teams had their share of scoring opportunities, despite battling gusts of wind up to 30 mph, but OU goalkeeper Kelsey Devonshire made a game-high seven saves to record her fifth shutout of the year. The shutout was also the 11th of the sophomore's career, a mark that is tied for third best all-time at Oklahoma.
"With the wind, our defense did an extremely good job," added Nelson. "The opportunities that Texas created were because Texas did a good job of creating opportunities, not really because of our mistakes. That's what you look for."
The Sooners are 2-5 in the Big 12 Championship and 7-8-1 all-time against the Longhorns after snapping a three-game losing streak with a 2-1 double overtime victory on Oct. 24 in Austin. In addition, OU is 2-0 all-time in the postseason against Texas.