NORMAN — Oklahoma entered last week without a conference win to their credit. It had several close calls, but had somehow found ways to lose in the end.
That all changed over the weekend. After shutting out Kansas Friday, the Sooners came back and smashed TCU 3-1 Sunday at John Crain Field.
The three goals ties a season high for the Sooners, which it has reached twice before. The offensive explosion came on the same day the team honored its outgoing seniors.
“I thought we came out a little bit hesitant,” OU coach Matt Porter said. “Then obviously in the second half we settled down and started to play a little bit more and got our just reward in the act that two seniors got on the board and a senior assisted.”
The Sooners hadn’t won back to back conference games since Nov. 5, 2010. Those came during its run through the Big 12 tournament when they made it to the title game.
This year’s squad hopes its wins over Kansas and TCU will get them one step closer to making it back to the conference tournament. With two games left in the regular season, they are currently sixth in the standings. The top eight advance.
“I think we played great,” Emily Bowman said. “We played together two games in a weekend which was our goal overall. That’s been our goal the whole time, to be a tournament team.”
It was Bowman who put the Sooners on the board first with a header with 13 minutes left in the first half. It was her first goal of the season and it came on an assists from Abby Hodgen.
That would be all the cushion the Oklahoma defense would need. It kept the Horn Frogs out of prime scoring position much of the day. Kelsey Devonshire ended the game without a single save.
For good measure, Renae Cuellar scored her 11th goal of the season with 22:50 left in the second half. That’s back to back games the senior out of La Puente, Calif. has put one on the back of the net.
Cuellar is now four goals from becoming the Sooners single season record holder for goals scored. Whitney Palmer set the record with 15 in 2009.
“Records are meant to be broken,” Cuellar said. “If I can do that, it would be great.”
Jessica Johnson put the contest away with nine minutes left in the clock. She booted a hot one from more than 35 feet away from the TCU goal, and it rocketed past Vittori Arnold. It was Johnson’s second goal of her career.
“It’s awesome,” Johnson said. “I haven’t scored since my freshman year. It’s definitely especially since this is my senior day. I’m very excited about.”
The Sooners hit the road Friday when it takes on Iowa State and then head to West Virginia Sunday to close out the regular season. A single win would sew up a spot in the postseason, but the players want to go for another sweep.
“It’s obviously to go out with our best result,” Cuellar said. “Not only to secure a spot in the tournament but also what spot we do get matters. We want to end with a positive on our minds as we enter the tournament and not with anything that will set us back from getting an NCAA spot.”
Michael KinneyFollow me @firstname.lastname@example.org