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Bend and eventually break: Cowgirls salvage win with late score

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Ally Jackson and the Cowgirls

Ally Jackson celebrates with the Cowgirls after scoring the go-ahead goal.

Oklahoma State dominated all night, but you wouldn’t know it from demeanor of the nerve-wracked Cowgirl bench in the later stages of the game.

The score, a 2-0 Cowgirl win, is a good indicator of OSU’s superiority over Kansas State on Thursday in Stillwater.

The frustrated faces pasted on the Cowgirls (7-5-2) throughout a majority of the match indicate something too. They couldn’t break through.

The Wildcats (6-7-2) surrendered scoring chances — plenty of them. But as the game wore on and statistics like shots and corners racked up for OSU, the one thing didn’t rack up was goals.

When KSU settled into the game, watching each of the six scoring chances the Wildcats recorded was a nerve-wracking endeavor.

“I felt like we try we're a little unlucky not to be off a couple of goals at half,” coach Colin Carmichael said. “But then as the game goes on, they came into as you would expect, and you just start worrying, you know about a tie and even, you know, maybe a one no loss because they had a couple of chances so.”

OSU, fresh off a winless road trip, entered the match needing wins, not draws. Thankfully for the Cowgirls, their last two shots keep their first 16 from being painful memories of missed opportunities.

At the half, the Cowgirls led in every statistic except the one that matters. Carmichael said he was frustrated at the half but he and his fellow coaches didn’t advertise it.

“We tried to be very calm, because we were playing well and creating chances, and if we're upset and stressed about it, it's just going to trickle down to the team they were already upset they didn't score,” Carmichael said.

The Wildcats played defensively; a tactic that made life difficult for the win-hungry Cowgirls. As the game time crept along, worry started creeping into the Cowgirls. Would they break through?

Like their coach, junior forward Olyvia Dowell and her teammates tried to not concentrate on it.

“I think nervous is a good way to put it, but I feel like you can't show that,” Dowell said. “Because as soon as you get your head down and get nervous, you end up losing that game or tying that game.”

The Cowgirls scored twice in the last 15 minutes, cashing in their last two shots of the match.

Ally Jackson broke through for the Cowgirls, proving that the 17th time was the charm in the 74th minute.

Jackson was the first to get to a loose ball in the Wildcat box, finding herself closest to the ball after a cross from senior forward Hannah Webb served in a cross from outside the box with her left foot.

It was the Jackson’s fourth career goal — the first one she scored with her foot. It led to a win against the KSU team that had been as hard to score on as the crossbar that stopped a couple OSU shots in the first half.

“For our confidence, it was super important for us to just get a W,” Jackson said. “We knew we could do it against this team and you know any team when we play hard. We're gonna win.”

Dowell added a goal a few minutes later on the final OSU shot of the game. The pair quick strikes flipped the game on it’s head.

“Lyv probably hasn’t scored as many this year she wants to, but to step up in that moment and bury it… both of those really good from our perspective,” Carmichael said.

The Cowgirls, ranked sixth in the Big 12, did something they couldn’t do on the road. Get three points for a win.

“We put our all our effort in tonight,” sophomore defender Mollie Breiner said. “The last couple of games we haven't been giving it all and not everybody has been pushing it. Tonight I really felt that everybody put in all the work they could and it ended up with a win.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com