NORMAN — The Sooners couldn’t have asked for a better start Friday night at home against the Cowgirls.
After just five minutes they were up 1-0 off of a set piece goal from Zoe Dickson, whose cracker from 25 yards out zipped past Oklahoma State’s keeper.
For the next 86 minutes Oklahoma was the better team, but that didn’t extend into the second overtime period, where OSU prevailed for a 2-1 final.
The Sooners controlled possession and thwarted the Cowgirls’ every build-up with tenacious closeouts and unrelenting energy.
The first half was entirely Oklahoma’s, but keeping up with the Cowgirls took its toll.
By the second half, OSU was finding its form again and finding more chances on goal, logging 10 shots to the Sooners’ three.
With the shots piling up, Sooner keeper Kassidie Stade racked up eight saves, while OU’s back line continued to frustrate OSU’s dangerous duo of forwards.
Both teams were looking for the counter, but found the defenses too quick and thoroughly prepared for the over-the-top through ball approach.
With time winding down, the Cowgirls continued to press, sacrificing discipline for desperation and speed.
They found ways to create chances, but the Sooners seemed determined.
Then, everything came unglued.
An OSU corner kick from the right flag found its way to Natalie Calhoun at the front post, whose glancing header to the back left corner knotted the score at 1-1.
The home crowd of 2.025 at John Crain Field fell silent as if the ball had opened a vacuum in space when it crossed the goal line.
“We were doing so well and to have a goal like that come in ... it’s disappointing. We have to be more disciplined on set pieces, but other than that I think we did really well,” Stade said.
Before overtime, OU keeper said coach Matt Potter told them to stay aggressive and keep pushing.
Yet it was OSU who stormed out of the gate, rejuvenated and looking to steal.
Nice runs from Jemma Cota and Kathryn Watson gave OU a spark, but the Sooners’ sails were without wind.
With time winding down in the second overtime period, it again looked like the game was decided, but in true Bedlam fashion the end was written in the final minute.
The Cowgirls won a corner from the right flag. The ball sailed into the box, bounced around a sea of kicking legs before falling directly in front of Allie Stephenson who banged it home with 47 seconds remaining.
Under cover of Bedlam the Cowgirls stole what the Sooners felt they had earned.
“I think we executed our game plan really well. I think we deserve more than we got and I think we deserve to win, and we have all season,” defender Madison Smith said. “It’ll come. Just give us time and we can follow through and do it. I think we did what we needed to do it just didn’t end up in our favor.
“We had a couple of good cracks. There were a lot of moments where we could’ve won it, we just need something to go our way and we just need things to turn around.”
The Sooners’ (3-7-1) next chance to turn the corner is at 7 p.m., Friday at John Crain Field when they face the Red Raiders.
If they can muster 90 minutes like the 86 they played to start the game against Oklahoma State, they’ll have a good chance to do just that.
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