Connect with us


Carmichael Calls for ‘Least Appreciated’ Midfielder to Earn All-American Honors



She scored Oklahoma State’s only regulation goal Saturday, held a clinic in the midfield defending in the Cowgirl soccer team’s grandest game of its historic 2017 season, and her coach wants that to be recognized.

Julia Lenhardt blushed when Colin Carmichael started talking about her after their first-round advancement in the NCAA Tournament. Carmichael knew she would and pointed it out before he started her campaign.

“In my eyes, she’s an All-American,” Carmichael said. “She covers every blade of grass. She does all the dirty work. She’s a lovely soccer player as well and a great teammate.

“Embarrassed yet?”

In the ninth minute against Missouri State on Saturday in Round 1 of the NCAA Tournament, Lenhardt capped off what had been a menacing start for the Cowgirls with her third goal and seventh point of the season. Kim Rodriguez sent in a corner kick that carried out to the goalkeeper’s right, and Anna Beffer controlled it.

She sent it back in through the heart of the Missouri State defense, but it found its way to Lenhardt at the top of the box. She seemed surprised the ball got to her, but she shot to the left post. It rattled off and in.


Lenhardt’s goal wasn’t the most beautiful of the season, but she showed good poise to knock it home. And those are the types of plays that go unnoticed.

“Not by the staff or her teammates but by the outsiders, she is probably the least appreciated player we have,” Carmichael said. “And maybe our most important player week-in and week-out.”

Michela Ongaro, who served as heroine saving three penalty kicks to earn the advancement, sat next to both Carmichael and Lenhardt. She didn’t say anything, just nodded her head while Lenhardt’s cheeks got redder.

Lenhardt said scoring was a relief. She hadn’t scored since early September against Abilene Christian, 15 games ago. She buried another ball into the net during the penalty shootout, something Carmichael said takes a great deal of “fortitude.” But she said it was “simple.”

That’s kind of Carmichael’s point, I think. Lenhardt doesn’t think too much of the moment but almost always owns it. She passes whatever fame the OSU soccer team gets off to Beffer who sent in the assist or Ongaro who saved the penalty kicks.

So she has the mentality of an All-American and the game to back it up. She logged the second-most minutes of any Cowgirl last season as a freshman and is on pace to finish second again, extremely rare as a midfielder.

She is a holding central midfielder, meaning she holds play up offensively and defensively. Her primary duty is to slow the game down, and she does it well. OSU has become known as a possession team that keeps the ball on the ground this season. And defensively, the Cowgirls are among the nation’s best.

OSU allows .783 goals per game, which is the ninth-lowest mark of all teams that have played at least 21 games. And Lenhardt is one of the most responsible for that.

Carmichael knows it.

“I’ll put it this way: When she’s not on the field, we’re not as good a team,” he said. “And that’s probably the best compliment.”

Most Read

Copyright © 2011- 2023 White Maple Media