The Oklahoma State Cowgirls outlasted the muggy 93-degree heat and Saint Louis with a 2-0 victory on Sunday afternoon.
OSU (4-0-1) midfielder Grace Yochum captured a brace with both of her goals coming within five minutes of each other.
A gritty first half ended 0-0 with minimal chances for either team. OSU head coach Colin Carmichael said that the first half was frustrating for the Cowgirls.
“They (St. Louis) did a great job of taking away things we like to do, we wanted to build through the middle of the field using our four players in there but they (St. Louis) didn’t allow us to do so,” Carmichael said.
At halftime, Carmichael made adjustments to his team’s attacking plan through spreading the ball into the wide areas of the field. He said his team’s performance improved in the second half.
“Our kids did what we asked them to do, their work ethic on a Sunday where it’s boiling hot was amazing, they executed the game plan and some of the quality in the final third in the second half was really good,” Carmichael said.
In the 75th minute, a corner kick from Kim Rodriguez was too hot to handle for Billiken (3-3-0) goalkeeper Mary Niehaus. The ball slipped through Niehaus’ hands and Yochum pounced for her first goal of the season.
Five minutes later, Yochum doubled the Cowgirls’ lead with a wonder strike from 32 yards out that nestled into the top right corner. Yochum said it was one of the best she’s ever scored.
“In my whole life, forget my career, in my whole soccer life obviously my first career goal was huge but this goal was up there for sure,” Yochum said.
Carmichael said he was ecstatic for her long-range effort and how she performed.
“I thought Camy’s (Huddleston) goal (against Central Arkansas) was goal of the season, well she’s got competition now with Grace’s (Yochum) strike I mean that thing was a rocket I’m not sure too many keepers save that,” Carmichael said. “I was really pleased for Grace because she’s been playing well but she hasn’t really had the stats to back it up until this point.”
Yochum’s two goals extends the Cowgirls’ winning streak to three games. Their next game will be on Thursday at No. 8 Penn State. Carmichael said the preparations for a game against a top team will start soon.
“We’ll enjoy the win tonight but we’ll start thinking tomorrow about Penn State and it will be a great challenge for our group,” Carmichael said. “If you can’t get up for that one you shouldn’t play soccer it’s going to be an awesome game.”