NORMAN, Okla. -- The Oklahoma Sooners’ (8-11-1 overall, 3-6-1 Big 12) season ended for the second consecutive season in San Antonio, Texas, with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Bedlam rival Oklahoma State on Nov. 1.
In the final game of 2006, OU rallied to tie the game at one goal apiece in the 74th minute and the momentum of the game appeared to be in its favor. However, the Sooners allowed the game-winning goal with less than five minutes to play.
Before the loss, OU finished the season strong with a 5-2-1 record over the final eight regular season games. The Sooners started the season with a disappointing 3-8 mark.
The 2006 season began with back-to-back losses in the OHANA Hotels & Resorts No Ka Oi against host Hawai’i and Washington.
When the Sooners returned home, the friendly confines of John Crain Field did not welcome them back as Michigan ruined the home opener with a 2-0 victory.
Two days later, OU won its first game of 2006 with a 1-0 decision over Michigan State. The victory sparked a 3-2 mark over the next five games for the Sooners, including wins over Stephen F. Austin and Oral Roberts.
Unfortunately, head coach Randy Evans’ Sooners entered another slump, losing their next three games, all within the Big 12 (at Colorado, vs. Kansas and at Texas A&M).
With eight games remaining, OU put together its strongest finish to a season in program history with wins over Missouri, Iowa State, Texas Tech, Northern Iowa and Missouri State. The Sooners’ only defeats in that span were a pair of games decided by one goal against Baylor and Nebraska.
RETURNING AND LOST
The 2006 version of Oklahoma soccer featured the remaining Sooners from the 2003 NCAA Tournament team. The Sooners will lose seniors Kady Kelly (eight goals, six assists), Savannah Scott (five goals, two assists) and Andrea Hurley (four year starter on defense) next season, but return eight starters for 2007.
A talented group of juniors highlight the returning starters and the are listed below:
Jennifer Nichols (1.34 GAA, seven shutouts)
Shana All (five goals, two assists)
Audrey Habibi (three goals, five assists)
Lauren Harris (one goal, four assists)
Tenesha Duncan (one goal, two assists)
Allyson Kucera (one goal)
Sophomores Katie Corbitt and Helen Ajufo return on defense and freshman Ashley Farrand (three assists) should once again add depth in the midfield.
BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY
The Sooners will make their fifth appearance in the Big 12 Championship next week (all in the Evans’ era). OU is 1-4 in the conference’s postseason tournament and has lost four consecutive games since winning its debut over Texas in 2000. Below is a look at the Sooners’ history in the Big 12 Championship:
2000 W, 2-0 vs. Texas
2000 L, 1-0 vs. Texas A&M
2001 L, 1-0 vs. Texas A&M (OT)
2003 L, 1-0 vs. Kansas
2005 L, 2-0 vs. Colorado
2006 L, 2-1 vs. Oklahoma State
Since suffering three consecutive losses, OU rebounded to post a 5-3-1 mark to finish the season. The Sooners’ success was attributed to the offense which scored 19 of the team’s 30 goals in that span. Twelve different Sooners recorded points in the final eight games (eight goal scorers) and as a team, OU averaged 12.7 shots and 4.2 corner kicks during the last nine games (5.09 shots and 4.18 corner kicks in the first 11 games of the season). Below is a look at the Sooners’ offense in the last nine games compared to the first 11 games of the year.
SCORING FIRST = SUCCESS
OU scored first in 10 games during the 2006 season and only suffered losses against Washington and Oklahoma State. In comparison, nine opponents (OSU twice) throughout the year jumped tallied the game’s initial score and OU was 0-9-1 in those games. The only game that the Sooners came from behind was the 3-3 tie at then-No. 10 Texas on Oct. 1. That trend held true in 2005 as well. The Sooners were 10-0-1 when scoring first during that season and 3-6 when falling behind (wins over Saint Louis, East Carolina and Oklahoma State).
AJUFO NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT
Sophomore defender Helen Ajufo was named to ESPN The Magazine’s Academic All-District VI Second Team on Nov. 2 as announced by CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America).
Ajufo played in all but one game this season and has made 36 starts in her first two years in Norman. She is the fourth Sooner in program history to earn academic all-district honors and was one of seven First Team Academic All-Big 12 honorees this season.
To be eligible, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.20 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his/her current institution.
On Oct. 22, OU posted a season-high five goals against Northern Iowa. The game marked the first five-goal game for Oklahoma since Sept. 4, 2004 (W, 5-0 vs. TCU). Additionally, the offensive surge marked the 31st time in the Randy Evans’ era that the Sooners scored three or more goals in a game. In those contests, OU is undefeated at 30-0-1 with the only blemish coming against Texas in 2006.
SHUTTING OUT THE OPPOSITION
The Sooners held opponents to one goal or less in 11 games in 2006, including seven shutouts, which ranks fourth in the Big 12. Jennifer Nichols recorded all seven of the team’s shutouts and tied for first in the conference with Kansas’ Julie Hanley. In the last two seasons, Nichols and the Sooners have held opponents to one goal or less on 24 occasions, including 14 shutouts.
Six 2006 opponents advanced to the NCAA Tournament. OU was 0-6-1 in those contests with a tie against Texas and losses to Michigan, Purdue, Oklahoma State (twice), Colorado and Texas A&M. Additionally, seven opponents advanced to the 2005 NCAA Tournament. OU was 2-4-1 in those games with wins over Iowa State and Michigan State and losses to Colorado, Purdue, Texas A&M and Nebraska (tied Texas).
NATIONAL TELEVISION APPEARANCES
For the second time in the program’s 11-year history, the Oklahoma soccer team was seen live on national television, as aired by ESPNU on Sunday, Oct. 1. The Sooners tied then-No. 10 Texas to improve to 0-1-1 when appearing on television. The Sooners made their national television debut last year in Lincoln, Neb. College Sports Television (CSTV) aired the Oct. 21 contest that saw Nebraska edge Oklahoma 2-1.
HOME SWEET HOME
Oklahoma, traditionally a tough team to beat at home, finished 2006 with a 7-5 mark. The Sooners were 5-4 entering the final three home games of the season and rallied to win two of those contests (Northern Iowa and Missouri State) and only suffered a 1-0 defeat to Nebraska.In 2005, OU enjoyed its best record at John Crain Field with a 9-1 mark, besting the 8-1-1 mark established in 2001. OU is 53-31-7 lifetime at home, including a 30-12-4 mark over the last five seasons.
EVANS VS. NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS
The Sooners finished the regular season with a 5-4 mark against teams outside of the Big 12. In 2005, OU posted its best non-conference record (8-1, .889 winning percentage) in program history. The last time OU had a losing non-conference record was during the 1999 season, current head coach Randy Evans’ first year. In eight years at OU, Evans is 43-20-5 (.664) against non-conference opponents.
EVANS INDUCTED INTO MARYVILLE HALL OF FAME
On Friday, Oct. 13, Oklahoma head coach Randy Evans was one of six individuals inducted into Maryville College’s Wall of Fame (Tenn.). Evans, a soccer standout, led the nation in scoring with 28 goals in 1989. Evans graduated cum laude from Maryville College in 1991 with a degree in business.
On the night of his induction, Evans won his 70th career game as Oklahoma defeated Texas Tech in Lubbock.
OU SOCCER COMPLEX RENOVATIONS
The OU Athletics Department completed Phase II of the OU Soccer Complex, a $4.5 million renovation. The addition of a state-of-the-art press box and grandstand, which increases seating capacity to 3,500, is joined by a multi-use building located between the soccer complex and the Headington Family Tennis Center. The OU soccer and tennis clubhouse features a training room, locker rooms, video and conference rooms, team facilities, and equipment, laundry and other support services. The press box is equipped with camera decks and a media level complete with the latest technologies. The attractive conference room/meeting area serves as a versatile location for team meetings and activities, and will be used to hots parents, donors and media.
0 - Tara Macdonald - Goalkeeper from James Bowie High School in Austin, Texas ... Team won district from 2003-05.
1 - Jennifer Nichols - Played every minute in goal ... Tied for third in the Big 12 with seven shutouts and ranked second with 113 saves ... Recorded shutouts in 2006 against Michigan State, Stephen F. Austin, Oral Roberts, Iowa State, Texas Tech, Northern Iowa and Missouri State ... Moved into sole possession of second place on OU's all-time shutouts list after blanking Texas Tech (14) ... Posted a season-high 12 saves against Texas Tech ... Ranks third all-time with 240 career saves ... Named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 12.
2 - Ashley Farrand - Recorded first points as a Sooner with an assist against Iowa State on Oct. 8 ... Also assisted on a goal against Northern Iowa on Oct. 20 ... Started 13 games and played in 19 games ... Had nine shots on the year, with season-high two against Michigan State, Missouri and Iowa State ... Saw first action as a Sooner on Aug. 28 against Hawai’i.
3 - Helen Ajufo - Started 16 games and played in 19 games on defense ... In 2005, she was the only freshman to start and play in every game throughout the season.
7 - Andrea Hurley - Started all 20 games in 2006 on defense ... Named to all-tournament team in Hawai’i ... Senior captain ... Finished career with 67 career starts.
9 - Savannah Scott - Scored three points in last three regular season games (goal and assist) ... Second on the team in multi-point games with five ... Ranked second on the team with five goals, 12 points and 39 shots in 20 games played (18 starts) this season ... Came off the bench to tally second goal of the year against Oral Roberts ... Scored first goal of the season against Stephen F. Austin ... Finished career in third place in OU history with 21 career goals and fourth with 50 points.
10 - Kady Kelly - Had five goals in last eight regular season games ... Scored eighth goal of the year against Missouri State (tied third highest total in school history) ... Scored goals in three consecutive games (Texas, Missouri and ISU) and is the seventh player in school history to accomplish feat ... Led the team with eight goals, six assists, 21 points, 50 shots and eight multi-point games ... Finished regular season ranked in the Big 12’s top ten in goals (T-6th), assists (T-10th) and points (T-4th) ... Became the tenth Sooner to record two assists in one game against Oral Roberts, tying a school record ... Has started a team-best 56 consecutive games at OU (dates back to Sept. 3, 2004) ... Recorded first multi-goal game of her career against Stephen F. Austin with two tallies ... Named to all-tournament team in Hawai’i.
11 - Shana All - 15 starts in 2006 and saw action in all 20 games ... Scored goals in three consecutive games (seventh player in school history to do so) ... Scored four of her five goals in 2006 during the final seven games ... Three of her four goals in 2006 were game-winning tallies (tied for fourth highest total in a single season) ... Scored game-winning goals against Michigan State, Iowa State and Texas Tech... Tied for fifth all-time at OU with four game-winning goals ... Recorded first assist of the season against Northern Iowa ... Tied her for fifth most in OU history with nine career assists.
12 - Lauren Harris - Ranked second on the team with four assists ... Had 14 shots in 19 starts in 2006 ... Scored first goal of the season on a free kick against Colorado ... Recorded assists against SFA, Missouri, Iowa State and Missouri State.
14 - Jayme Seetin - Junior tallied second career assist against Northern Iowa on Oct. 20 ... Started first career game against Washington in 2006 ... Had three starts in 2006 and saw time in all 20 games.
15 - Christie Smeal - Scored second career goal against Northern Iowa on Oct. 20 ... Played in 13 games in 2006 ... Scored first career goal against Oral Roberts ... Made OU debut in 2005 season opener against Arkansas.
16 - Tenesha Duncan - Scored first goal of the regular season against Iowa State, seventh of her career ... Recorded second assist of the season and sixth of her career against Missouri ... Had eight starts in 2006 and played in 15 games ... Sat out last five games with a concussion.
17 - Kate Marr - Made first career start against Oral Roberts ... Had two starts in 2006 and played in 16 games ... Made OU debut against Washington on Aug 26.
18 - Allyson Kucera - Started every game in 2006 and ranked third on the team with 29 shots ... Scored first goal of the season against Oklahoma State ... Tied for eighth place all-time in OU history with 10 career goals.
19 - Colleen Keester - Scored first goal of 2006 (second of career) against Oral Roberts ... Played in every game in 2006 and started seven of the last eight games, including her first career start against Missouri.
20 - Charla Baker - Made OU debut against Northern Iowa on Oct. 20.
21 - Kasey Hahn - Scored 25 goals and 16 assists at Norman H.S.
24 - Katie Corbitt - Started 16 games in 2006 on defense (played in 18 games) after coming off the bench in the first two games of the season.
25 - Rebecca Nelson - Recorded first career assist and points against Missouri ... Played in 12 of the last 14 games ... Made Sooner debut against Stephen F. Austin.
26 - Ashlee Coleman - Tallied six goals and eight assists last year at St. Pius X High School in Albuquerque, N.M.
27 - Audri Habibi - Tallied all 11 of her points in the last nine games (three goals, five assists) ... Scored a goal and recorded first career assist against Missouri ... Had four multi-point games in 2006 ... Became the 11th Sooner to record two assists in one game against Iowa State, tying a school record ... Scored first career goal against Texas on Oct. 1 ... Played in 14 games in 2006 (eight starts) ... Junior college transfer that made Sooner debut against Stephen F. Austin ... Didn’t play in first five games of 2006
28 - Kate Leyendecker - Freshman netted first career goal against Northern Iowa on Oct. 20 ... Made Sooner debut against Hawai’i ... Played in nine games in 2006.
31 - Evelyn Larson - 6-0 goalkeeper from El Paso, Texas from Franklin H.S.
32 - Ashley King - Made season debut against Texas A&M on Sept. 29 ... Played in three games in 2006 ... Made first career appearance as a Sooner against Arkansas on Aug. 28,2005.
33 - Lauren King - Played in eight games in 2006 ... Made first appearance of 2006 against Michigan State .
44 - Traci Dickenson - Started first two games of 2006 on defense and saw time in 10 games (three starts) ... Started one game in 2005.