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3 takeaways: Strong defense, home field crowd in Thursday's win

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Jordan Nytes

The OSU Cowgirls haven’t played a match in Neal Patterson Stadium since August 21 against Missouri State.

Safe to say, they’re happy to be home.

Here are three takeaways from the Cowgirls’ 3-1 victory over the Mercer Bears.

Unwavering first-half defensive performance

When the first 45 minutes of the match were completed, the Bears had only taken one shot compared to the Cowgirls' 10.

Talk about defense.

“We really wanted to put them under pressure,” said Cowgirl coach, Colin Carmichael. “(We wanted to) put them on their back foot and we did.”

The Cowgirl defense made it apparent that the Bears would have to work for goals, as Carmichael said that he talked with his team about denying entry balls into the box.

“We talked about denying entry balls and not letting them serve our 18,” Carmichael said.

In the second half, the Cowgirls wavered on defense, but Carmichael was pleased with his team’s performance in the first half.

“First half, really good defending, second half, I think could’ve been a bit better."

Buzzing home crowd

The last time Cowgirl fans stepped into Neal Patterson Stadium was for Bedlam on Aug. 28, which after numerous weather delays, got canceled.

“OU was kind of like a teaser, we saw all the people here, and we couldn’t play,” said star midfielder, Grace Yochum.

On Thursday night though, fans got the real deal.

“There’s nothing like a home advantage and there’s nothing like playing at NPS,” Yochum said. “It was a great atmosphere, and they brought the energy.”

Carmichael couldn’t help but take notice of the fan support either, as that fed into his team’s desire to play and capture a victory for their home supporters.

“It was phenomenal... our kids were excited; they were buzzing to play,” Carmichael said.

Now, after a long road trip, the Cowgirls get to play in front of their fans again on Sunday, and they’re as excited as ever.

“We were really excited to get home and play and now we get to do it again on Sunday,” Carmichael said.

“We’re fired up.”

Keeping the ball on the ground more often

The Cowgirls are now on a three-match streak of scoring at least three goals, as Yochum and co. have been leading the way offensively.

However, they can always play sharper offensively.

“I thought we got some really good areas, but we made some decisions that weren’t the best,” expressed Carmichael.

The Bears were defending the Cowgirls’ airborne passes well, especially in the second half, so they made the adjustment to keep the ball on the ground. This led to a crisp pass from Shyann McClary to Yochum in the 82nd minute, nearly giving Yochum a hat trick on the evening.

“We talked about keeping the ball on the ground and trying to cut it back,” said Carmichael. “Which Cheyenne did to “Yocs” late in the game and we almost scored from it.”

Even with the ball not ending up in the back of the net, Carmichael wants to keep the ball on the ground moving forward, rather than only serving into the box, as it brings something new to the table for the Cowgirl offense.

“We’ll talk about doing that more instead of just serving high balls into the box all the time.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com