Fans at Neal Patterson Stadium last Friday saw the Cowgirls take a commanding 2-0 lead off of a corner kick that took three seconds, but they didn’t see the five hours of work that went into that goal.
Justin Elkington is an assistant coach for the OSU soccer team. One of his responsibilities is to break down film of the Cowgirls’ opponent that week, which, coach Colin Carmichael said takes around 4-5 hours.
This past week, Elkington spent time watching film of the Texas Longhorns.
“Justin talked about how vulnerable Texas might be on corner kicks because they zone, they don’t man-mark at all,” Carmichael said. “We talked about being aggressive and we walked through that delivery and run in practice the other day, so it’s a credit to the kids for executing it. But you know, Justin deserves credit for recognizing that and we certainly showed it to them.”
Once Elkington had identified the weakness in the Longhorns’ corner kick defense, the team prepared accordingly leading up to the match.
“We showed it to (the players) on video and then walked through it on Thursday. We probably served 10 balls I would guess, maybe five from each side,” Carmichael said. “It was really windy Thursday, so it didn’t work in practice, but we just kind of showed them where we want it and what we wanted them to do.”
Even though his team had gone over the strategy, Carmichael wasn’t counting on the corner kick turning into a goal, but he knew it had a chance.
“I wouldn’t say I expected it to work, but we knew we had a chance because we do have girls who can hit really good delivery, especially (Grace) Yochum and maybe (Kim) Rodriguez,” Carmichael said.
On this particular set piece, it was senior defender Kim Rodriguez who took the corner kick. Rodriguez sent a left-footed strike toward the far post right at Yochum.
Yochum said she knew she was going to score right as the ball soared above the goal.
“(Rodriguez) lofted it and Texas is kind of suspect on corner kicks,” Yochum said. “They play a zone, and anytime you play a zone, the focus is you got to attack the ball.”
Yochum attacked the ball and used her 5-foor-9 frame to head the ball down into the goal to give the Cowgirls a critical goal that helped seal a win. It was a sequence that took only three seconds, but the goal had been in the works for days because of the time Elkington spent finding a weakness in the Longhorn corner kick defense.
“We knew going in that’s where (Texas) is kind of suspect,” Yochum said. “So, I just kind of put myself right there and (Rodriguez) hit it right to me.”