Nearly all eyes in Neal Patterson Stadium followed the ball as it flew through the air and found its way into Oklahoma State’s goal.
The OSU women’s soccer team came up short on Senior Day, losing 2-0 to Iowa State in Stillwater.
Shealyn Sullivan got the Cyclones on the board in the 27th minute.
OSU (10-6-1 overall, 2-5-1 Big 12) cleared a ball out of the box right to Sullivan, who had no defenders around her. Instead of taking a few touches forward, she saw an opportunity and let it rip.
From 35 yards out, the ball sailed over the Cowgirls’ defense, past goalkeeper Hannah Warner and into the left side of the net.
“The first half, they had only two chances, and they scored one of them,” coach Colin Carmichael said. “It was a wonder goal. There was nothing we could do.”
Warner entered the game earlier than anticipated when goalkeeper Dani Greenlee, who started the game, went down with an injury in the 14th minute.
Greenlee ran out from the goal to make a save but fell to the ground after colliding with an ISU player. Greenlee lay motionless on the field for a few minutes, the ball still in her gloves, before trainers helped her off the pitch.
Although the Cowgirls went scoreless Sunday, they got off to a stronger start offensively than on Friday against West Virginia. For the first 20 minutes of the game, they controlled the ball, making clean passes and keeping up the pressure.
“We had them in the midst the first 10 minutes,” Yochum said. “We had good looks. We were in their half, and then after that we just kind of lost control of the game.”
After OSU was unable to equalize the score before halftime, it allocated more players up front in the second half to try to create more offense. That left its back line more exposed than normal.
The Cyclones (3-13-2, 1-6-1) capitalized. They doubled their lead on a breakaway, sending a ball past an out-of-position Warner.
OSU had a flurry of shots in the final few minutes but didn’t connect on any before the clock hit zero.
The Cowgirls felt the absence of senior forwards Haley Woodard and Marlo Zoller. Without their speed, OSU was unable to have much success on long passes up the field.
Because of injuries, sophomore Taylor Olson has been pushed into a bigger role, and freshman Grace Yochum has been forced to move up to forward from her more natural spot in the midfield.
“At the end of the day, we know we don’t have (injured players), and other people have to step up,” junior Jaci Jones said. “You can’t say, ‘Oh, we don’t have this player or this player or this player.’
“We have to go out there with the players that we do have. That’s the bottom line.”
The loss spoiled OSU’s Senior Day festivities and extended the Cowgirls’ losing streak to five games, its longest since the 2014 season.
In the Cowgirls’ last match of the regular season, they have a must-win game Thursday at home against TCU to make it into the Big 12 tournament.
“It’s definitely painful,” Yochum said. “This isn’t easy. It doesn’t make it easier that it’s Senior Day. We tried to do it for the seniors. We were so close, but we didn’t get it.”