Sooners Home to Face Illinois State, Gonzaga
Aug. 24 | 7 p.m. CT | Norman, Okla.
Aug. 26 | 3 p.m. CT | Norman, Okla.
|2017 STATISTICAL COMPARISON|
NORMAN —The Oklahoma soccer team will host a pair of games at John Crain Field this weekend, welcoming Illinois State and Gonzaga to Norman. The Sooners will face Illinois State on Friday at 7 p.m. CT before hosting Gonzaga on Sunday at 3 p.m. CT.
Both matches will air through Sooner Sports TV on Fox Sports College Central as well as the FOX Sports Go app. Chad McKee and former OU soccer player Molly Richey will call the action, and Megan McDonald will be on the sidelines. The matches will also air on KREF radio (99.3 FM, 1400 AM).
OPENING WEEKEND RECAP
The Sooners kicked off 2018 by welcoming Nebraska to Norman, before heading to Stillwater for the first of two Bedlam games this season. In the season opener against Nebraska on Aug. 16, the Sooners took an early 1-0 lead thanks to a goal by Ivanna Rivas. With three minutes left to play, it looked as though OU would walk away with the win. However, a pair of goals by the Huskers spoiled the Sooners’ chance at victory.
On Sunday, the Sooners traveled to Oklahoma State for their first road match of the season. OSU took a 2-0 lead in the first half, but Kaylee Dao put the Sooners on the board with her first goal of the season in the 88th minute.
This weekend will see a pair of new opponents at John Crain Field when the Sooners face Gonzaga for the first time in program history. OU and Illinois State have only met once in program history, with the Sooners earning a 1-0 victory in Normal, Ill. in 2015.
NEW FACES ON THE FIELD
Opening weekend saw plenty of new faces on the field for the Sooners. After battling knee injuries in back-to-back years, redshirt sophomore Lauren Haivala made her first appearance in the Crimson & Cream, starting and playing 82 minutes in her debut against Nebraska. Freshmen Megan Reilly and Olivia Smith were featured in the starting lineup, and freshmen Hailey Davidson, Lauren Tovy and Paige Thompson saw significant minutes off the bench in both games.
2018 SIGNING CLASS
This fall, the Oklahoma soccer team is joined by 11 freshmen in Abigail Bancroft, Cameron Tharp, Chloe Bohanon, Hailey Davidson, Megan McClay, Jackie Stacy, Jasmine Richards, Lauren Tovy, Megan Reilly, Olivia Smith and Paige Thompson will join the Sooners in 2018. Ten of the 11 players hail from the state of Texas with Smith coming across the pond from England.
“Each comes from a competitive club, coached by the best and having played in some of the best atmospheres,” OU head coach Matt Potter said when the class signed in February. “I believe this incoming class will be lively, skilled and their energy will be fun for all Sooner soccer fans to watch.”
The Redbirds come to Norman with a 1-0-1 record. ISU shut out Eastern Michigan, 1-0, to earn its first win of the season after tying Cal State Northridge, 2-2, in the season opener.
Junior goalkeeper Haley Smith was named the MVC Defensive Player of the Week, recording nine saves in an overtime battle with CSUN. She finished the week with 13 saves after adding four more in an Eastern Michigan shutout Sunday afternoon.
The Zags are currently 1-0-0 on the season, defeating Grand Canyon to open the year. Gonzaga was scheduled to play CSU Bakersfield as well, but poor air quality caused the match to be canceled. Under second year head coach Chris Watkins, 18 players returned for the 2018 season, including seven starters.
The Zags went to double overtime in their first game, defeating Grand Canyon, 2-1. India Jencks scored the game winner, converting on a diving header to give Gonzaga the win.
The Sooners will travel to College Station, Texas, to take on Texas A&M Friday, Aug. 31 at 8 p.m. The match will air on the SEC Network.