Cowgirls Set For Final Home Matches Of Regular Season
#5 Oklahoma State (12-1-1, 5-0-0)
vs. Colorado (6-7-1, 2-3-1)
Thursday, Oct. 14 • 7 p.m.
Cowgirl Soccer Complex (1,450)
vs. Nebraska (11-4-0, 4-2-0)
Saturday, Oct. 16 • 1 p.m.
Cowgirl Soccer Complex (1,450)
STILLWATER, Okla. – Oklahoma State is 12-1-1 overall and atop the Big 12 Conference standings after a 5-0-0 start to league play. OSU enters the weekend on an 11-game unbeaten streak (10 wins, one tie), and with their strong performance and a nucleus of proven veterans that has led the program to back-to-back Big 12 championships, the Cowgirls have achieved their highest-ever national ranking at No. 5. OSU is also sixth in the official NCAA RPI.
The Cowgirls return to action Thursday when they host Colorado in a game that will be nationally televised live on Fox Soccer Channel at 7 p.m. OSU will also host Nebraska Saturday at 1 p.m.
OSU returned eight starters in 2010 from a squad that went 15-7-2 a year ago, won a Big 12 Soccer Championship title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship for the fourth consecutive year. The Cowgirls returned a trio of All-Big 12 First Team performers — senior midfielder Annika Niemeier, junior defender Melinda Mercado and sophomore goalie AD Franch — but Niemeier was lost for the rest of the ’10 season after suffering a knee injury at Oregon in OSU’s second game of the year.
Colin Carmichael is in his sixth season as OSU’s head coach. The Cowgirls have a .746 winning percentage under Carmichael, having compiled a 86-24-16 record during his tenure.
Colorado sports a 6-7-1 record on the season and is tied for sixth in the Big 12 standings with a 2-3-1 mark. The Cowgirls are 3-10-2 all time against CU and suffered 1-0 loss to the Buffs in last year’s season opener in Boulder. OSU’s last win over CU was in 2006, a 2-1 victory over the No. 11 Buffs in Stillwater.
Nebraska is in third place in the Big 12 with a 4-2-0 record and entered the week with an 11-4-0 mark prior to Thursday’s game at Oklahoma. OSU is 5-10-0 all time against the Huskers. Last season, the Cowgirls suffered a 2-0 loss to NU in Lincoln but knocked off the Huskers, 3-0, at the Big 12 Soccer Championship.
On The Air & The Web
Fans wishing to follow this weekend’s matches can do so in a variety of ways. Thursday’s game against Colorado will be nationally televised live by Fox Soccer Channel, which can be found on DirecTV channel 619 and Dish Network channel 149. For other channel information, contact your local cable or satellite provider. Live stats via Game Tracker can be accessed at www.okstate.com by clicking on the Schedule/Results link, and fans who subscribe to OKState.TV All-Access through okstate.com can watch a live webcast (with radio audio) of Saturday’s game. Stillwater Radio will also air a tape-delayed broadcast of Friday’s match on KGFY 105.5 FM following high school football, while Sunday’s match will be carried live on KSPI 780 AM.
Oklahoma State has won back-to-back Big 12 Conference championships and has captured three conference titles in the last seven seasons — two tournament (2003, ’09) and one regular season (2008).
The Cowgirls entered the 2009 conference tourney as the fifth seed and proceeded to knock off fourth-seeded Nebraska, top-seeded Missouri and second-seeded Texas A&M en route to the title. OSU lost to each of those teams during the regular season, and the 1-0 win over Texas A&M was the first victory over the Aggies in program history.
In 2008, OSU set a school record with 18 wins, finishing 18-1-4, and won the first regular season Big 12 championship in school history by finishing league play with a 7-1-2 mark.
OSU won the 2003 tourney title by defeating Missouri in double overtime, a win that gave the Cowgirls their first-ever NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship appearance.
Becoming A Trend
OSU has earned a berth in the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship in each of the last four years and has made five tourney appearances in the program’s 14-year history.
OSU has advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for four-straight years and are 3-2-4 all-time in the tourney.
OSU is No. 5 in this week’s NSCAA/HendrickCars.com poll, which marks the program’s highest-ever national ranking. The Cowgirls’ previous-best national ranking was No. 7, which they had reached three times (2006, 2008 and 2010).
In November 2008, OSU entered the NCAA Soccer Championship with a No. 7 ranking. The Cowgirls also climbed as high as the seventh spot in the polls in 2006.
This season marked the fourth straight that OSU was nationally ranked in the preseason polls as the Cowgirls were as high as No. 19 in the Soccer America preseason poll.
In 2007, OSU began and ended the season in the national rankings, the first time that had happened in its history. The Cowgirls ended the season ranked as high as 17th.
The ’07 season came on the heels of a 2006 campaign that saw OSU achieve its highest national ranking ever and earn a spot in the final national polls for the first time in the program’s history.
OSU is currently sixth in the official NCAA RPI standings, and the Cowgirls’ .893 winning percentage ranks as the sixth best nationally.
OSU’s 2010 senior class (A. Leggett, Niemeier, Richardson, Thompson, Wernimont) currently ranks as the 12th-winningest senior class in the country. Over the last three-plus seasons (2007-pres.), the Cowgirls have compiled a 59-15-10 record (.762). Among Big 12 schools, only Texas A&M, with 62, has more wins than OSU during that span.
Oklahoma State entered the 2010 season on a 10-game unbeaten streak and extended it to 12 with wins in their first two outings before the sneak was snapped with a 1-0 loss at Portland. The Cowgirls were 10-0-2 during the unbeaten streak as they won their final five regular season games in 2009, then went 3-0 at the Big 12 Soccer Championship before being credited with a pair of ties in the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship.
OSU enters the week on another unbeaten streak, this one at 11 games (10 wins, one tie).
The school record for consecutive games without a loss is 13, which was set in 2003.
Three OSU players — midfielder Annika Niemeier, defender Melinda Mercado and goalie AD Franch — were named to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team in a vote of the league’s head coaches.
OSU’s three preseason All-Big 12 picks tied Texas A&M for the most in the league.
For the fourth-straight year, OSU has placed a player on the Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy Watch List.
In 2010, there are two Cowgirls on that list — Annika Niemeier and AD Franch. OSU is one of 10 schools with multiple players on the 45-player list.
The Hermann Trophy is considered the highest individual honor in collegiate soccer.
This year’s duo joins Yolanda Odenyo (2007 and 2008) and Kasey Langdon (2009) as Cowgirls to appear on the Hermann Trophy Watch List. Odenyo was one of 15 semifinalists for the award in ’08.
OSU had five players earn 2009 All-Big 12 honors, and four of those return in 2010.
The Cowgirls had a league-high three players — midfielder Annika Niemeier, defender Melinda Mercado and goalie AD Franch — on the All-Big 12 First Team in 2009. Forward Kasey Langdon ended her collegiate career as an All-Big 12 Second Team selection.
Franch, along with freshman defender Carson Michalowski, was named to the Big 12 All-Newcomer Team.
The Defense Never Rests
One of the biggest reasons for OSU’s success over the last several seasons is defenses that have been among the best in the Big 12 Conference.
That trend continues in 2010 as the Cowgirls have allowed just seven goals and sport a 0.49 goals against average, both totals that lead the conference.
Last season, OSU set school records with 14 shutouts and a 0.65 goals against average, and the Cowgirls’ 16 goals allowed tied the school mark. OSU led the Big 12 in all three categories.
In 2008, OSU allowed just 18 goals and recorded 10 shutouts. The Cowgirls ranked third in the Big 12 in goals allowed and goals against average (0.75).
OSU recorded 10 shutouts in 2007, which once again tied for the most in the Big 12, and the Cowgirls ranked among the conference’s best in goals allowed (20), goals-against average (0.84) and save percentage (82.1).
The Cowgirls tied a school record with 12 shutouts in ’06, and that total also tied OSU for the most blankings by a Big 12 team. Opponents attempted just 255 shots against the Cowgirls and only 16 of those found the back of the net. OSU ranked first in the league in goals allowed, and its 0.66 goals against average was also tops in the conference.
OSU ranks fourth in the Big 12 with 30 goals on the season. While junior Krista Lopez leads the way and ranks second in the league with 11 goals, the Cowgirls have had nine different players find the back of the net.
In addition, five other players have notched assists, giving OSU 14 players who have recorded points in 2010.
More On AD
There has been no sophomore slump for AD Franch in 2010.
Through OSU’s first 14 games, Franch ranks in the top seven nationally in goals against average (0.37) and save percentage (.911), and she has recorded six shutouts.
The Salina, Kan. native already owns several OSU records and is on the verge of adding to that list. Among them:
• Franch holds the OSU record for most shutouts in a season with 11.
• Franch’s goals against average of 0.61 in 2009 was the best ever in a season at OSU. Erin Stigler’s 0.71 mark in 2006 was the previous best.
• With 18 shutouts, Franch already ranks second on OSU’s career shutouts list. Stigler owns the all-time mark with 21.
• Franch has recorded 126 saves, which ranks fourth on OSU’s career list.