Sunday, Oct. 31 / 5:30 p.m. CT / Round Rock, Texas
NORMAN — OU (8-10-1) meets No. 20 Texas (10-3-5) in the Big 12 Soccer Championship quarterfinals Sunday at 5:30 p.m. CT. The seven-seed Sooners secured their spot in the tourney with a late-season surge that included wins over KU, K-State, Iowa State and Baylor. Texas, the two seed, went undefeated in Big 12 play with a record of 6-0-3.
LAST TIME OUT
The Sooners won their fourth game of their last five matches Thursday night with a 2-0 win over Baylor on Senior Night at John Crain Field. The seniors stole the show in their home finale, with seniors Bri Amos (11′) and Jazzy Richards (15′) tallying goals for the Sooners. Senior keeper Nikki Panas made five saves for her second consecutive shutout. Panas collected Big 12 Goalkeeper of the Week honors for her performance.
FINDING THEIR GROOVE
The Sooners have shown vast improvement from 2020 and sit at 8-10-1 heading into the Big 12 Soccer Championship. The team has tallied 28 goals, compared to just seven in 2020. In addition, the team has threatened offensively, averaging 13.7 shots per game. The Sooners are efficient in their attempts on net, putting 49 percent of their shots on frame. Senior Jazzy Richards leads the team with seven goals, followed closely by fellow seniors Bri Amos (6) and Megan Reilly (4). Senior keeper Nikki Panas has been a force in goal for the Sooners in 2021, making 61 saves.
With a win Sunday, Oklahoma would meet the winner of the quarterfinal matchup between Baylor and West Virginia. The semifinal is Thursday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m. CT on Big 12 NOW on ESPN+. The championship match will take place at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 7.
All-session passes are priced at $12 and are available for purchase at Big12Sports/buytickets.
CARR WELCOMES 13 FRESHMEN
Carr will look to his first full recruiting class of 13 freshmen to make an impact on and off the field this season. The 13 signees come to Norman from all over the world, with seven domestic players and six internationals.
“We have high expectations for OU soccer and the 2021 class will be expected to impact the program right away and provide immediate competition,” Carr said on his freshman class. “Here at OU, we love and embrace competition as we know this will only bring out the best in all of us. By adding this class to our core group of returners, the future is bright for soccer here at OU.”
Seven of the 13 freshmen have played for the Sooners, with Weber, Ella Pappas and Sheridan Michel all tallying points for OU. Pappas scored the game-winning golden goal in double overtime to beat Nebraska with an assist going to Michel.
OU soccer is quickly making a name for itself as a haven for international prospects and coaches to cement their places at the top of college soccer in America. All three members of the Sooner coaching staff are from other nations, with Carr coming from England, Gough from Wales and Bard-Martel from Canada. But the international flair in Norman reaches far beyond the touchline.
A total of seven student-athletes have elected to call Norman home, including six first-year students. Freshman forward Leo Weber was named one of Top Drawer Soccer’s top international players to watch this season, while Canadian prospects Sheridan Michel, Keera Melenhorst and Nikki Panas spent time in the Canadian youth national team program. Muriel Kroflin joins Carr’s 2021 class from Langenargen, Germany, where she spent her youth leading SC Freiburg to Bundesliga titles and playing on the German youth national squad. Norweigan players Une Hebnes Georgsen and Andrine Westlie round out OU’s international group, with Georgsen starting in net for the Norweigan youth national team at the U17 UEFA women’s qualifiers, while Westlie led Bærum SK and the league in scoring after making her debut at 14.
Carr didn’t just retool his roster with a large freshman class but also utilized the transfer portal to bring three ACC student-athletes to Norman.
Makala Thomas spent three seasons at Florida State, helping the Seminoles to the 2018 national championship and playing in 29 games in her time at FSU. Alexis Strickland joins the Sooners from perennial powerhouse North Carolina, where she played in 27 games for the Tar Heels as a freshman before not appearing last season. The final transfer in 2021 is Molly Feighan, who played 16 games last season at Virginia Tech and started all 19 games as a junior in 2019. All three players can play any position in the attacking third for Carr’s side.
LED BY THE SENIORS
Despite such a large group of newcomers, the Sooners’ leadership comes in the form of their 13 seniors who have combined for nearly 25,000 minutes played at the Division I level. Lauren Haivala, Jazzy Richards and Erika Middleton are all familiar names for Sooner fans, playing in over 100 matches for the Crimson & Cream.