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OU soccer: Goals by Alexis Strickland, Bri Amos propel Sooners to 2-1 win over Kansas State, 2nd-straight victory

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Alexis Strickland

Junior forward Alexis Strickland celebrates a goal during the game against Kansas State on Oct. 17th.

Junior forward Alexis Strickland has been patient since first coming to Oklahoma. Over the course of this season, she’s taken 11 shots and tallied two assists. However, Strickland had yet to find the back of the goal.

That changed on Sunday.

Strickland and freshman forward Leonie Weber led a fastbreak against Kansas State’s defense. The pair was able to maneuver past the last line of defenders and found itself  in a two-on-one situation with Wildcats goalkeeper Alaina Werremeyer.

Weber took the first shot from the left side of the goal. Werremeyer dove to her knees to bat the ball away, but before she could recover, Strickland came from the right side to punch the ball into the net for her first-career goal.

“Whether I’m playing 30 minutes, 10 minutes, 90 minutes, I just support the girls,” said Strickland, a Raleigh, North Carolina native. “I feel like I have a leadership role on this team from where I came from. I’ll continue to use my voice and support the girls.”

Strickland’s goal in the 21st minute helped propel the Sooners (6-9-1, 2-4 Big 12) to a 2-1 victory over the Wildcats (6-8-2, 1-4-2) before 512 fans at John Crain Field in Norman in front of a crowd 512 strong.  K-State retaliated in the 46th minute with a goal, but the score didn’t remain tied for long after senior forward Bri Amos found the back of the net in minute 49 to put the Sooners back up.

Oklahoma held the lead for the remainder of the game, putting a stop to multiple Kansas State runs with stellar defense. Senior goalkeeper Nikki Panas racked up six saves and played all 90 minutes to outperform reigning Big 12 goalkeeper of the week Werremeyer. Panas has 52 saves on the season.

The Sooners have now won two games consecutively after starting Big 12 play on a four-match losing streak. The team will continue conference play in its Oct. 21 bout with Oklahoma State, but isn’t in a hurry to look ahead.

“We’ve got to celebrate this one first,” head coach Mark Carr said. “I don’t want to jump forward too quickly because it’s been an achievement for us getting two games back-to-back and putting together two good performances back-to-back.

“We’ve had a difficult run of games, and what I’m really proud of is that our team had a decision which way we would go after a couple of losses and I knew they would come good.”

Oklahoma has totalled five goals in the last two games, which is more than it had tallied in its previous five games combined. The Sooners have not won consecutive games since late August and early September when they defeated Nebraska and Kansas City in back-to-back home matchups.

OU will finish its regular season with the Cowgirls, Iowa State on Oct. 24 and Baylor on Oct. 28. Three wins in those games could result in the Sooners finishing in the top half of the Big 12 Conference.

“My hope would be to finish out the conference with all wins and make it to the Big 12 Conference (championship),” Strickland said.

With wins over Kansas and Kansas State, the two teams directly above them in the Big 12 standings, Oklahoma’s chances of seeding at least eighth in the conference and making the end of season tournament are high, but it will need to play well in its remaining games.

Carr put his team through its post-game stretches and then gathered it around for a spirited huddle. Sunday was not a day to look forward to the intensity of what may come, but instead one on which to savor victory. Oklahoma will next travel to Stillwater on Thursday, Oct. 21 where it will take on Oklahoma State at 7 p.m. on ESPN+.

“Just proud of our team,” Carr said. “We create chances. Today was a gritty performance. We had to dig in in the second half and we did that and we came out with the result.”

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