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Cowgirls reach draw in competitive battle against No. 8 Texas

OSU Soccer vs. Texas

Hannah Webb dribbles toward the goal at the soccer game against Texas on Sept. 28, 2018.

The crowd members at Neal Patterson Stadium erupted out of their seats in celebration.

But in an instant, the cheers turned to boos, and the match was headed to overtime. The Oklahoma State women’s soccer team tied at 1 with No. 8 Texas on a blustery night at Neal Patterson Stadium.

A frenzy of confusion on the field and in the stands occurred with only a minute left in regulation.

Texas goalkeeper Nicole Curry stepped forward and attempted to intercept a cross from Kim Rodriguez, but the ball slipped out of her grasp. Freshman Ally Jackson was in perfect position to control the rebound and calmly knock it into the open net from 10 yards out.

Fans began to celebrate, but the official controversially ruled that Jackson had hit the keeper, causing her to drop the ball. The score was waived off.

“Everybody was cheering, but I kind of knew the official was going to call it back,” Haley Woodard said. “It stunk because I think their own player hit the keeper.

“It was really kind of unfortunate for us. I felt like we should have had that.

Although it ended in a tie, OSU (10-1-1 overall, 2-0-1 Big 12) held a lead for most of the match.

Claire Gantzer crossed the ball into the box from the far side of the field in the 23rd minute. Woodard jumped for the ball and, though she missed, her effort forced an error by a Texas defender as the ball was headed backward past an out-of-position keeper for an own goal.

But again, there was initially not a clear call on the score.

Standing by herself in the box, Haley Woodard gazed over at the officials’ conference. She threw her hands up in celebration when the referee finally signaled a goal.

“It was on our film to test the keeper,” Woodard said. “We weren’t sure how good she was coming off the line. I think that was just really good execution of what we talked about.”

Before the goal, the Cowgirls and Longhorns were evenly matched, with both sides going back and forth. Texas’ defense was aggressive, sending multiple defenders at the ball whenever OSU got near the box.

The game’s physicality was immediately apparent, with multiple Cowgirls going down with injuries in the first half.

Jaci Jones subbed out early in the match after suffering an injury. Two midfielders, Grace Yochum and Julia Lenhardt, went down on the same play, though Yochum immediately returned. Taylor Olson also was injured in the first half and stayed out for the rest of the contest.

“We lost two key players early in the game,” coach Colin Carmichael said. “Two of our captains. Two of our leaders.

“We had to reshuffle everything, but the kids that went in did great.”

The Cowgirls did get reinforcements back in this match, with starting defender Elise Hawn returning to action after missing the past five games with a hamstring injury.

She made a key play with seconds left in the first overtime period, making a pivotal block of a potential golden goal for the Longhorns.

Just when it seemed like the Cowgirls would pull out a tight 1-0 victory, the Longhorns knocked in the equalizer. Texas’ Cyera Hinzten knocked the ball past goalkeeper Dani Greenlee to the far post in the 77th minute for her Big 12-leading ninth goal of the season.

In the 82nd minute, Yochum looked ahead for an opportunity after creating some separation from her defender. She wound up with her left foot and took a shot, but she slapped her legs in frustration after watching it sail well wide of the mark.

After the Jackson goal debacle, the two teams headed to overtime where neither side could break through, leaving the game in a draw.

“I feel like we should have won,” Yochum said. “That’s what hurts the most. I thought we were the better team … but we got to move on. We’ve got a big game Sunday.”

OSU will look to get back on the winning track in Norman. The Cowgirls return to the action Sunday for their second Bedlam match of the season with Oklahoma.

“The performance was good,” Carmichael said. “The fight was good. The effort was good. Texas is a top-10 team.

 “Nobody has beaten them this year, and we were darn close.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com