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Top-Seeded Duke Awaits Oklahoma State Soccer in Durham on Friday



After upending Missouri State with penalty kicks, the Oklahoma State soccer team received a lovely award.

The Big 12 champs get to travel to Durham, North Carolina, to face the No. 1 team in the nation, Duke. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. Friday, and at least on paper, it doesn’t look good.

Duke plays basically the same style the Cowgirls do. The Blue Devils keep the ball on the ground and at their feet, dominating possession with extremely technically sound players. OSU does much of the same but not as efficiently.

Duke has a top 30 offense, scoring more than two goals a game on average and a top 10 defense, giving up less than half a goal every time they take the pitch. That’s absurd. In the regular season, the Blue Devils allowed only nine goals in 21 games.

The good news is Duke hasn’t been playing like its usual self lately. To finish the regular season, it squeaked by with a 1-0 win against Virginia, and in the postseason, and the Dukies not scored more than a single goal in their last three games (one an ACC Championship loss to UNC). A big swing from hammering Big 12 power West Virginia 4-0 earlier this season.

Still, OSU isn’t playing its best ball either, having gone since Oct. 22 without a two-goal victory. Coach Colin Carmichael told OSU he was just relieved to still be playing after the intense penalty shootout in the first round.


“We talked to our kids and said, ‘Only 32 teams are playing; 64 came in and only 32 are now playing. Everybody else has packed up and gone home,'” Carmichael said.

That said, the Missouri State game was as close as it could have possibly been, and Carmichael told OSU the roles will be reversed from the opening-round game into this one against Duke.

“The challenge for us, we gotta defend well, we gotta be switched on,” he told OSU. “We gotta concentrate, and when we get our opportunities, we gotta be able to hurt them on the other end.”

He said the team is excited about the opportunity to knock off No. 1 though. It would be the first time in OSU history that has happened. The last times the Cowgirls played a top-ranked team, they lost 2-1 against Stanford in the 2011 NCAA Tournament and 3-0 against West Virginia during last year’s regular season.

Both of those games were on the road like this one will be, and that OK. The Cowgirls have had a ton of preparation throughout the season on playing tough underdog games on the road, at West Virginia, at Texas A&M, at Cal and at Texas to win the Big 12 regular season title.

“Our kids, they’ll obviously respect Duke, and they’ll realize they’re playing against a great team, but I think they’ll go out and have a go at it,” Carmichael told OSU. “And I think they believe they can win the match.”

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