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A look at OSU's shutout win over Kansas State

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Olyvia Dowell & Gracie Bindbeutel

Olyvia Dowell (left) connected with Gracie Bindbeutel (right) for the game-winning goal against Kansas State. 

The Cowgirls are returning from Kansas with a Sunflower State sweep.

OSU (9-1-1) upended Kansas State (4-5-2) in Manhattan on Sunday afternoon, 1-0, and extended its win streak to six games behind a quick start and stingy defense.

Here’s a look at the Cowgirls’ win.

Quick kicks

Coming into Sunday’s match, the Cowgirls hadn’t scored their first goal before the 35th minute in their previous three matches, and five of their seven goals during that span didn’t come until after the 70th minute.

Slow starts were letting teams gain confidence early and hang with the Cowgirls. Though the Cowgirls were on a five-match win streak, that can be costly later.

But that wasn’t the case against Kansas State.

In the fifth minute, forward Olyvia Dowell saved the ball from going out of bounds just to the left of the goal and planted a nice assist in front of fellow forward Gracie Bindbeutel for her third goal of the season and an early lead.

On an afternoon where defense was aplenty and goals were scarce, a quick burst from the starting gate turned out to be the difference.

No shots on goal

The defense has been strong. No secret there.

The Cowgirls are a national top-10 team in goals allowed and freshman goalkeeper Jordan Nytes has only had four shots sneak by her in 11 matches. But what stuck out Sunday was that Nytes rarely had to defend her goal.

The Wildcats had only five shots on the day, third fewest by an OSU opponent this season, and two of those came in desperation in the waning moments of the match. None of those shots were on goal.

With K-State needing a quick goal in the 89th minute, KSU midfielder Adah Anderson possessed the ball and a wide-open angle to the goal, but defender Mollie Breiner closed the gap, sliding into the ball from behind and avoiding a Wildcat one-on-one with Nytes.

If the team defense can continue to suffocate offenses and keep Nytes fresh, Big 12 opponents will have a hard time running up scores on the Cowgirls.

What a start

For the first time since 2018, the Cowgirls have nine wins in their first 11 matches.

The strength of schedule hasn’t been the stoutest, but the Cowgirls continue to win. Which isn’t always an easy thing, especially in the Big 12.

“It’s a road win in the Big 12, those are hard to come by,” coach Colin Carmichael told ESPN+. “K-State pushed us all the way, but I was really proud of our team. I thought in the second half we probably just about deserved to win.”

The schedule gets tougher with Texas Tech coming to town Thursday and Bedlam and TCU on the horizon. But considering the talent lost a season ago, a 2-0 start to conference and only one loss overall entering the heart of the schedule is a good place to be for the Cowgirls.

sports.ed@ocolly.com