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OU soccer: Sooners looking to build on tough ACC road trip in home match against Utah Valley

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Cameron Tharp and Bri Amos

Senior defender Cameron Tharp and senior forward Bri Amos during the game against UNT on Sept. 5.

Facing two members of the most dominant conference in soccer was a challenge for the Sooners, but they have a prime opportunity to snap their two-match losing streak on Thursday, Sept. 16 against Utah Valley.

The first order of business on Oklahoma's trip to the East Coast was facing North Carolina State, which has logged a 4-2-2 record, including two ties and two losses to four top-15 teams. The Wolfpack’s eight shots on goal benefited their 5-0 stomp over the Sooners (3-4-1), despite both squads taking nine shots each.

OU’s offense was threatened again on Sunday by another ACC opponent in No. 3 Virginia, which has only allowed three opposing teams to score this season. One of those three clubs is OU, which scored one goal despite attempting a season-low six shots. Despite that, Oklahoma fell short, 2-1, and left Charlottesville with a losing record and losing streak.

The narrative could flip in the coming days, though.

After a pause in its four-game homestand, Oklahoma returns to John Crain Field to host the Utah Valley Wolverines for the third time ever. Each program has beaten the other, but OU clinched the most recent win, 1-0, on Sept. 15, 2018.

“We’re coming off a good finish last weekend at Virginia, the No. 3 team in the country,” OU coach Mark Carr said in a Wednesday press release. “We’ve emphasized the importance of building on that.”

The Wolverines enter the contest with momentum from a two-game winning streak generated by a 2-0 win over San Jose State and 3-0 win over Boise State. Overall, Utah Valley holds a 5-2  record, including a 4-2 loss to No. 25 USC.

The head of the Wolverines is redshirt junior forward Sadie Brockbank. Brockbank leads the team with 10 points, four goals, 22 shots and 11 shots on goal. Her 10 points rank second highest in the Western Athletic Conference. With the assistance of Brockbank’s offensive ability, UVU has managed an average of 13.7 shots per game and has accumulated 15 goals this season.

In the Thursday night meeting between Utah Valley and Oklahoma, offenses will line up similarly, as OU has maintained an average of 14.6 shots per game and has scored 11 goals in its eight games. The Sooners’ seven shots on goal per game rank fourth in the Big 12, and their attempts on the net have produced 48 percent of their shots on frame.

Oklahoma’s offense has been balanced by six Sooners reaching the net, but the leader of the offensive firepower is senior forward Bri Amos. In Charlottesville, Amos delivered three shots and one shot on goal against the Wolfpack, and two shots, two shots on goal and one goal against the Cavaliers. Over the course of eight games, Amos’ presence has been essential as she has provided seven points and three goals in all eight of her starts.

Now, as Oklahoma and its offense have met challenges, Carr believes his squad is better equipped for the Utah Valley matchup and the contest against SMU shortly after.

“Utah Valley is a good team, they’ve been in the tournament... so we have every incentive we need to go in and put forth a good performance,” Carr said in the release. “We’re excited and we have to build off what we put out there against Virginia last weekend.”

The Sooners and Wolverines’ matchup will kickoff at 7 p.m. on Bally Sports Oklahoma.

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