By Clay Horning
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — A long time ago, Phil Collins released an album called “Hello, I Must Be Going.”
He might as well have been talking about Oklahoma soccer.
That’s the story as the program enters its second season under coach Matt Potter.
It begins at 6 p.m. today at Tennessee. At 11 a.m. Sunday, still in Knoxville, the Sooners play their second game of the season against Kennesaw State.
They’ll come home after that, but not to host a game at John Crain Field. Instead, OU will experience Bedlam’s first chapter a week from today at Oklahoma State.
Two days later, the home opener finally arrives, against Texas State … before the Sooners head to the Sunshine State for games against Florida and Florida State, the Nos. 6 and 8 ranked teams in the nation.
That’s quite a haul for a squad that finished 7-9-4 overall last season, with a 3-3-2 record against Big 12 competition.
Also, it’s quite a haul for a team sporting 15 newcomers on its roster, four of which are true freshmen — midfielder Jemma Cota, midfielder Shiloh Price, midfielder Paige Jacobs, defender Rachel Ressler — who started in both of OU’s exhibition games, a 0-0 tie at Idaho and a 2-1 loss at Gonzaga.
The season will also mark the dawn of the Kassidie Stade era in net. A redshirt freshman, Stade is replacing four-year starter Kelsey Devonshire, who may not have won more games than she lost, but was rarely the second best goalkeeper on the pitch.
OU did not score a goal in its two exhibition games, getting its lone tally against Gonzaga via an own goal. Nonetheless, Potter thought the dress rehearsals set his team up well for the season.
“We have shown so much growth throughout the preseason,” he said.
If the Sooners are fortunate, it will be enough to hold them together for a very long time away from home.
Follow me @clayhorning