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Beating the Billikens

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Cowgirls celebrate their first goal during the Oklahoma State vs. Oklahoma Bedlam soccer match on Thursday, November 12, 2020 at John Crain Field in Norman, Ok.

For coach Colin Carmichael, it will be reading one of his favorite Tom Clancy books. Olyvia Dowell will finish up the book she promised friends that she would have read by March 1. It will be music or a movie for Grace Yochum — really anything besides a book.

The Cowgirls travel east to play Saint Louis over the weekend.

Whether members of the Oklahoma State soccer team plan to spend the seven-hour bus ride in their future sleeping, watching a movie or reading, they are all on the same metaphorical page.

The game they will be traveling to is very important.

“(Saint Louis is) a great opponent,” Carmichael said. “They are a team where, if you beat them, the NCAA committee is going to look at that and say, hopefully, that’s a great win.

The Billikens are coming off a 3-1 victory over No. 7 Arkansas. Although Saint Louis has played just five games this season, their historical and current success make them a formidable opponent.

“They’ve won their league, I’d need to look, but it’s got to be four or five times in a row,” Carmichael said. “They always seem to be in the NCAA tournament...They are legit, and this year they beat Arkansas in Fayetteville. They are deserving of their national ranking for sure.”

Saint Louis’ defeat of the Razorbacks raised some eyebrows in college soccer. The Billikens scored all three of their shots-on-goal and fought their way to a win in Fayetteville. For OSU, that is a good thing.

“We know this is an extremely important game,” junior midfielder Grace Yochum said. “Colin told us that we want every team we play to win, except for when they play us. That helps our RPI, that helps us get into the tournament. We want (Saint Louis) to have a great season, but we want to beat them obviously.

To prepare, Olyvia Dowell relied on her experience from playing Saint Louis two years ago, as well information from people she knows on a team that was bested by the Billikens.

“They’re very athletic, extremely athletic, from what I remember,” Dowell said. “And fast. I have a couple connections that go to Arkansas and they were saying that they are very athletic and fast. But I believe that we are also athletic and fast, so I think it’s going to be a good matchup.”

Yochum, who’s familiarity with Saint Louis goes back to her high school days when she was recruited by them as a junior, said the team is excited to play them — seven-hour bus ride and all.

“We get to play soccer at the end of the day,” Yochum said. “We’re going to travel as long and as far as we need to. However long the bus ride is, we’re going to do it. It’s not the best part, but it’s what you do to get out there and play.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com