A Florida defender was closing in on senior Marlo Zoller’s right side as she received a pass in the box from Julia Lenhardt, but the help was too late.
Zoller’s strike through the defender’s legs into the right side of the goal in double overtime was a walk-off winner. The Oklahoma State women’s soccer team upset Florida, the fifth-ranked team in the United Soccer Coaches Poll, 1-0 in a defensive battle Sunday at Neal Patterson Stadium.
Two minutes into the second overtime period, Zoller put an end to a game that seemed destined to finish in a scoreless tie.
“It’s hot, everyone was tired, so it was nice to get it done,” Zoller said.
“It’s really rewarding because we’ve had so many chances, and I think we were the better team both halves, so it was frustrating not getting the lead early.”
The Cowgirls (3-0) and the Gators had opportunities to score throughout regulation, but stellar defensive play from both sides kept the contest in a stalemate. With 15 shots, OSU nearly doubled the Gators’ shot total of seven, though it failed to connect until Zoller’s winner.
Seconds after kickoff, Cowgirl senior Haley Woodard took the ball ahead of the defense and had a one-on-one with Florida goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese.
Marckese made a tricky save to prevent OSU from taking an early lead.
In the ninth minute, the Cowgirls again had opportunities to get on the board, but three consecutive corner kicks and multiple shots didn’t result in a goal.
“I thought we created some really good looks, especially in the first half, I thought we could’ve been two up,” Carmichael said.
The match was more physical than OSU’s last two games. The officials allowed a few potential fouls to slide on both sides.
“It wasn’t dirty by any stretch,” coach Colin Carmichael said. “It was an NCAA Tournament level game. You expect some physicality.”
Sophomore Dani Greenlee received her second start at goalkeeper of the season, though she is still splitting time with redshirt freshman Hannah Warner.
OSU’s defensive play kept her from having to make a save during her time on the field.
In roughly three halves of play, she hasn’t allowed a goal.
Warner made a few key plays when she entered the game after the half. In the 74th minute, a Florida header off a corner kick nearly squeaked in under the crossbar. With an outstretched arm, Warner got just enough of it to tap it over the post.
In the 82nd minute, Woodard had one more chance to break the stalemate ahead of the Gators’ defense, but her shot sailed wide of the mark.
With the score still tied at zero, the Cowgirls and Gators (2-2) headed to overtime with Zoller scoring the game winner.
The Cowgirls’ performance against a top opponent encouraged sophomore Hannah Webb, who played all 102 minutes.
“It shows us where we are and where we can be,” Webb said.
The victory keeps the Cowgirls’ undefeated season going, as they moved to 3-0 on the season.
Carmichael said playing a great opponent like Florida early in the season helps him evaluate his team moving forward.
“The Bedlam game tested our character,” Carmichael said. “Lamar tested our patience … and Florida just tested everything. We just had to be at our best to win today, and we did. It lets us know we can play with anybody.”