Sooner soccer team aims for Bedlam revenge Friday in Stillwater
OU soccer (1-1) has something to prove at 7 p.m. Friday when the team rolls into Stillwater. The Bedlam match will be the first shot the Sooners have to redeem themselves after losing to No. 11 Oklahoma State (2-0) in penalty kicks last season in the Big 12 championship game.
“It’s a pride thing,” junior forward Caitlyn Mooney said. “Last time we played them, they got us in PKs, so were ready to give a little payback.”
Following practice Wednesday, OU coach Nicole Nelson felt positive her team is ready to compete against the top-ranked team in the Big 12 Conference.
“Their confidence was good this morning,” Nelson said. “They’ve been very focused on OSU.”
Apart from playing the first nationally ranked team on the Sooners’ schedule this weekend, the addition of the Bedlam atmosphere has put some added pressure on Friday’s game.
“It’s a great in-state rivalry, and we respect the rivalry,” Nelson said. “The fans are incredible. All these girls have played with and against each other for years, so there’s a lot of mutual respect, but it’s a very competitive match.”
The Sooners, coming off a 3-1 loss to Tennessee on Sunday, will need to stick with what works in their attacking series, making sure the team moves the ball around and plays its offensive style, Mooney said.
During last Friday’s game against Alabama-Birmingham, OU moved the ball around enough to let five different Sooner players score goals against the UAB defense. The Oklahoma defense was balanced on the other side of the ball, allowing just five shots and Sooner goalkeeper Kelsey Devonshire made one save, holding the Blazers scoreless through regulation.
Oklahoma State was one of only three Big 12 teams to come out of opening weekend without a loss. The Cowgirls return 10 of 11 starters from last year’s Elite Eight team, including All-Americans Melinda Mercado and Adrianna Franch. OSU’s leading scorer, Krista Lopez, also rejoins the team with 19 career goals.
The Cowgirls hold the series advantage 13-2-2 against the Sooners, and OSU is currently on a 6-0-1 unbeaten streak in Bedlam matches.
But Nelson is optimistic her team can use its success from the season-opener win against UAB to propel the Sooners to victory during Bedlam.
“We put some really good things together and put some great series together in the attack,” Nelson said. “We just need to avoid those mental mistakes.”
OU returns home for a match against SMU at 7 p.m. Sunday at John Crain field. The Mustangs topped the Sooners, 2-1, in an exhibition game last spring.
Sooner Player to Watch: Sophomore forward Zoe Dickson.
Against Tennessee, Dickson continued to put the pressure on the Lady Vol defense, tying for the most shots taken during the game(3). She also scored the game-winning goal against UAB last weekend. Dickson has started 23 of 25 games during her two seasons with the Sooners.