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OSU Soccer: Cowgirls Host Bedlam Bout with Big 12 Title within Reach

OSU hosts OU Friday night after drawing with the Sooners earlier this year.



STILLWATER — After being picked seventh in the Big 12 preseason poll, the Cowgirls are two games away from being league champions.

The Oklahoma State soccer team hosts Oklahoma at 7 p.m. Friday night in Neal Patterson Stadium in a game that carries more implications than just Bedlam. The Cowgirls lead the Big 12 with two games to go, and wins in both would give OSU two conference crowns in the past three seasons.

“We talked to our kids (Tuesday) just about all the permutations of where we are in the league and post season and everything,” Carmichael said. “And we said, ‘OK, now forget about all that because all you have to worry about is the Bedlam game on Friday.’ We understand where we are, but we’re fully focused on one game, and that’s Friday night.

“The fact that it’s Bedlam probably makes it a little bit easier to stay focused. Our kids are aware. We’re not naive to the fact that we have a chance to do something special this season.”

The Cowgirls and Sooners have already played once this season. In a nonconference bout in August, the teams tied 2-2 in Norman. OSU led 2-0 in that game until Sooner star Kaylee Dao scored twice in the final 15 minutes of regulation.

Dao has scored 13 of Oklahoma’s 21 goals this season. The Sooners’ next highest goal scorer is Yuuka Kurosaki with only three goals this year. So, this Sooners’ offense goes as Dao does, but putting a stop to that is easier said than done.

“You try your best, right?” Carmichael said. “The credit to Kaylee is the fact that everybody probably gameplans for her, and she still scores. That’s a testament to that kid. She’s having a fantastic season. She’s a great player, great kid. We have a ton of respect for Kaylee.

“We’ll do what we can to minimize her touches, but she’s gonna get touches. She’s gonna get looks at goal. That’s what good players do. Our job, I think, is to minimize those touches, always try to be aware of where she is and try to limit her looks, and hopefully she doesn’t explode like she has pretty much every game this year.”

The Cowgirls have had a committee approach to scoring this season. OSU has netted 39 goals this year, and six Cowgirls have scored at least three.

Grace Yochum leads OSU with 11 goals, four of which came this past weekend, but Carmichael said Yochum is day-to-day with a shoulder injury entering Friday’s Bedlam game.

This could be the final time OSU’s five seniors play OU, unless the teams meet in postseason play. The Cowgirls are 4-3-1 against their in-state rival across the past four seasons.

“Bitter sweet? I guess, but really just sweet because just, OU,” OSU senior Claire Gantzer said. “I just never want to go to Norman ever again. But no, it’s fun to play. It’s fun to get up for.”

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