Aug. 31, 2007
NORMAN, Okla. -- The OU soccer team kept finding the back of the net and setting records during Friday's season-opening win over Alabama A&M. The Sooners tied a school record for goals scored in an 8-0 shutout win over the visiting Bulldogs at John Crain Field.
Senior Audri Habibi led the way with two goals scored, both in the first half, as Oklahoma set a program best for largest margin of victory. The previous mark was established when Oklahoma defeated Drury, 8-1, on Sept. 1, 1997. That was also the last and only time a Sooner squad tallied eight goals in a game.
As the offense provided plenty of goal support, senior Jennifer Nichols and redshirt freshman Tara Macdonald helped anchor the defense, as the duo combined for the shutout. Alabama A&M entered Friday's game as the nation's top scoring offense with a 4.14 goals scored per game average in 2006.
The Sooners' scoring came as no surprise to head coach Randy Evans who stated prior to the season that the 2007 recruiting class was the best in program history. Four freshmen (Whitney Palmer, Tiana Dickson, Caitlin Stojkovic and Kelsey Allison) found the back of the net and five started the game. Overall, the coaching staff played 11 freshmen during the contest, three that redshirted the 2006 season.
"We certainly knew when we recruited them that they had the potential (to score), but when you start five freshmen you never know how they are going to react," said Evans. "After Whitney scored the first one, I think it took the pressure off everyone else and helped pave the way for more goals."
Palmer started the scoring in the 20th minute on a ball played from the middle of the field and over the Bulldog defense. Senior captain Lauren Harris was credited with the assist as the Sooners took a 1-0 lead at the 19:36 mark.
Dickson followed in the 28th minute and Habibi scored her first goal of the night a minute later. Stojkovic and Habibi concluded the first half with goals scored in the 41st minute and 44th minute, respectively.
After holding a 16-1 advantage in the shot column after the first 45 minutes, the Sooner offense picked up right where it left off after halftime. OU posted three more goals in the second half on 15 shots, while the Bulldog offense was limited to two second half fires.
"The defense is certainly an important part of our team and we only gave up three or four shots to the nation's top scoring offense," added Evans. "What we are doing defensively is carrying over (from last year)."
The Sooners also dominated play from the set pieces on Friday, scoring off two free kicks and taking seven corner kicks, while the Bulldogs were unable to create a scoring chance from the corner.
In the second half, freshman Kelsey Allison (65th minute) and sophomores Charla Baker (79th minute) and Kate Leyendecker (88th minute) helped increase the Sooners' lead. Senior Colleen Keester led the Sooners with two assists, on each of the last two scores, tying a school record that has occurred on 11 other occasions.
Oklahoma will look to carry the momentum into Sunday's contest against Oral Roberts. The game will be the first of the 2007 season for the Golden Eagles and action is slated to get underway at 3 p.m. at John Crain Field.
- The Sooners are 31-0-1 when scoring three or more goals under head coach Randy Evans.
- Friday's eight goals was the most scored in a season opener for the Sooners. The previous high was the six scores tallied against at Tulsa on Sept. 1, 1998.
- OU is 5-1-1 in the last seven season openers. Friday's shutout was the third for the Sooners during a season opener. The Sooners also blanked TCU on Sept. 2, 2001 (2-0) and Tulsa, 2-0, on Aug. 30, 2002.
- Now is his ninth season at OU, Evans is 44-20-5 (.674) against non-conference opponents.