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OU soccer: Sooners set to open Big 12 play at Texas Tech, look to break streak of ties vs Red Raiders

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Jazzy Richards

Senior forward Jazzy Richards during the match against Utah Valley on Sept. 16.

Oklahoma (4-5-1) is gearing up to begin conference play this week, starting with Texas Tech (7-1-1) at 7 p.m. Thursday in Lubbock.

The Sooners performed well in last Sunday’s matchup with Southern Methodist University, outshooting the Mustangs 14-2 in a 1-0 loss, and will look to increase conversion rate headed into conference play.

Of the 155 shots taken by Oklahoma through their first 10 games, the Sooners have only been able to turn 15 into goals, making for a shooting percentage of .097 whereas their opponents have shot a collective .170 in that span.

“That’s the hardest part in the game,” said Sooners coach Mark Carr. “I think it comes down to doing extra, finding little extra windows – 10, 15 minutes of doing some isolated finishing. It’s bringing awareness to certain individuals on maybe their technique, maybe their decision of the placement of their shot. It’s a lot of video but it’s a lot of repetition and a lot of helping the kids be more self-aware in certain situations.”

Nevertheless, the Sooners will look to be poised and ready on Thursday to assert themselves quickly as contenders in the Big 12. That would be a dramatic change of pace from where the team stood only a season ago, ranked dead last in the Big 12. 

“We prepare for the next game,” Carr said. “There’s a lot of talented teams but we're talented as well and it's just really focusing on the next game. We prepare for the next game like it’s a final, and that’s the most important game, so right now all we are focused on is Texas Tech, and once we get out of that it will be against Texas.”

The Sooners and Red Raiders will look to settle a long-running score Thursday, as the teams have tied the last three times they’ve faced off. The last clear victory in the matchup was Texas Tech’s 3-0 win over OU in the 2017-18 season. 

Forwards Kirsten Davis and Ashleigh Williams, a senior and freshman respectively, have been Texas Tech’s main offensive weapons this season with six goals each on the year.

“Collectively I think they’re all dangerous,” Carr said of Texas Tech. “We never just focus on one because if you focus too much on one then you get hurt in other places.”

OU will counter Tech’s dynamic forwards with a pair of its own in seniors Jazzy Richards and Bri Amos, who have totaled seven goals — four and three respectively — for the Sooners through their first 10 games.

The Sooners will use what they have learned so far this season to their advantage as they look to begin conference play strong in hopes of taking another step towards their goal of a conference title.

“Texas Tech is a good team but we go down there with a lot of confidence,” Carr said. “We’ve grown a lot in our nonconference play. We’re going to give everything. We’re going to go down there and get the result. That’s what we always do.”

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