Aug. 17, 2012
NORMAN, Okla. --
The OU soccer team begins the 2012 season and a four-game homestand with visiting Nebraska on Friday at 7 p.m. at John Crain Field.
Below are five things to watch Friday as the Sooners begin a new era in the soccer program under first year head coach Matt Potter:
1. Experience Returns
Eight starters are back from last year’s campaign, but the key when looking at the squad’s experience may rest in the fact that 12 players return from the 2010 postseason run. Included in that group is a pair of three-year starters in senior midfielder Katharine Nutman and senior goalkeeper Kelsey Devonshire.
“Without a question, that experience is priceless,” said Potter. “Not only that, you have a lot of talent in that group that forms the backbone of our squad. We are looking to their example and their leadership as we try to transition to our way of doing things. That group is going to be a key to our success moving forward.”
2. Build off Spring Success
The experience mentioned above shined in the spring slate, as the Sooners completed an undefeated four-game schedule that included wins over Arkansas and Oral Roberts. OU went 2-0-2 in the spring and gave up just one goal in the four matches. OU will need similar defensive efforts to top the talented Huskers and Tigers in the opening week. Anchoring that defense is Devonshire, who enters the 2012 season ranked third on OU's career list with 14 shutouts.
3. Series with Nebraska
Friday marks the first meeting with the Huskers since they bolted for the Big 10 Conference. The Sooners are 2-12-1 all-time against the Huskers after that 2010 meeting ended in a scoreless tie in Norman. The double overtime game ended a five-game winning streak for Nebraska in the series. OU last topped NU in 2004, a 1-0 decision in Norman. The Sooners are 1-5-1 all-time against the Huskers in Norman. Nine of the 15 all-time meetings have been decided by one goal or less, with Nebraska holding a 7-1-1 advantage.
4. Debut of Renae Cuellar
While a total of 10 newcomers appear on the 2012 roster, the most anticipated debut might come this weekend from senior Renae Cuellar. The forward has one year of eligibility left after transferring from Arizona. Cuellar was the Wildcats’ leading scorer as a freshman and sophomore and was an alternate for Mexico’s 2011 World Cup team that played in Germany. Cuellar played for the U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2010, also in Germany, and scored the game-winning goal in a 1-0 win over England in group play. She also found the back of the net in a 3-3 draw with Japan. She joins Katharine Nutman as a national team player on the 2012 roster. Nutman was a member of the English National Team prior to her arrival in Norman.
5. Tickets and Promotions
Season tickets are on sale now for purchase online and by phone (800-456-GoOU). Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children and senior citizens. Single-game tickets are also on sale and will also be available at the gate the day of the game. Below is a look at some of the promotions planned for Friday night:
Friday, August 17 vs. Nebraska at 7 p.m.
- First 250 fans receive 2012 Oklahoma Soccer schedule poster
- 200 free tank Tops for OU students
- Post-game autographs