Cowgirls struggle to convert, draws Tulsa

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Oklahoma State's Jaci Jones attempts to lose her defender during the Oklahoma State vs. Tulsa preseason scrimmage on Friday, August 16, 2019, at Neal Patterson Stadium in Stillwater, OK.

On a humid night full of water breaks and clattering tackles, the Oklahoma State soccer team came away with a draw and a few things to work on.

In the lone exhibition match for the Cowgirls, they drew 2-2 with Tulsa on Friday night. 

Throughout much of preseason, OSU head coach Colin Carmichael emphasized the defensive side of the Cowgirls gameplay.

With much of the focus being put on it, the defense was strong for much of the game. The Golden Hurricanes were kept scoreless in the first half, but later conceding two in the second. 

Despite not spending much time working on the final third, OSU did manage to get two of its own to even the game. The first came from Gabriella Coleman, who scored on her own rebounded shot and the second from a Kim Rodriguez penalty kick.

OSU had 19 shots, managing 10 of which on target. Though only a few shots threatened the Tulsa goalkeepers.

Senior Jaci Jones said that despite the low conversion rate she believes there are better day to come from the attacking group.

“First day of preseason (Coach Carmichael) said ‘defense wins championships’ so we really want to focus on that," Jones said. "If we can’t defend then we are going to get scored on constantly. It also gives us a lot of freedom in the final third and up front. We just need to be more creative and create chances. I probably should have had five goals tonight if i’m being realistic. So I don’t think it’s really an issue.” 

Some of those, she said, will come with stronger chemistry in the final third. 

“You have to have good chemistry with one another and that just takes time,” Jones said. “Even in practice it hasn’t clicked yet, but once it clicks we’re gonna be fine.”

Now that the defense is set, Carmichael said that he can now focus on scoring more goals.

“We haven’t spent hardly any time on the final third and finishing chances,” Carmichael said. “That will be our focus now that we’ve got a base defensively. We’ll start worrying what we do around their (box). What you saw today was all individual play, because we haven’t really worked on our movements and things up there. On another day we would have scored a couple goals and won it, but that’s okay.”

Much of whether or not OSU can put the ball in the back of the net will rest on the shoulders of Jones, who was involved in much of the Cowgirls attacking play against Tulsa. 

She had a team-high seven shots with four on target. She was also heavily involved in drawing 18 fouls, which gave her team added attacking chances. 

“She’s so good on the ball (Tulsa) had to resort to pulling her down a few times,” Carmichael said. “Her movement was great. She was unlucky not to get a goal in the end. She created a lot of great moments in the final third.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com