Oklahoma State freshman Kionna Simon was over 30 yards from the goal when she whistled a shot just wide of the post. She just gave a sheepish smile.
It was that kind of day for the Cowgirls on Friday, bombs away. Simon’s shot, which occurred before any of the damage had been done in OSU’s 7-0 dismantling of South Alabama, dictated the kind of offensive show the Cowgirls were seeking. It was the biggest game of the season, and No. 10 OSU came out swinging. The Cowgirls will face No. 7 Texas A&M Wednesday in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.
OSU put the Sun Belt Conference champions behind early with goals by senior forward Gabriella Coleman and sophomore Megan Haines before twenty minutes had been played.
As if the Jaguars weren’t facing enough adversity, they let Coleman behind their defensive back line in the 21st minute. USA defender Gabrielle Gayle had no choice but to grab a fistful of Coleman’s jersey, resulting in an immediate red card.
On the resulting free kick, the Cowgirls employed deceptive smoke and mirrors motion to disrupt the timing of USA goalkeeper Allison Luckhardt, and the Cowgirls leading goal scorer this season, Grace Yochum, curled a shot into the back of the net.
“We came out there with a lot of energy and that’s one thing he touched on is showing energy and high pressing them which I think we did. We kind of made them uncomfortable so I think as a team we were on board with what the coaches were saying,” Haines said.
The Jaguars simply couldn’t keep up with the Cowgirls, especially once the red card forced them to play with 10 players.
“Usually, you can pick things within a game that you’re not happy about, but it’s really hard to pick anything that didn’t go well today,” Carmichael said.
Four more goals were netted by the Pokes, making the performance the second-highest postseason goal scoring total in program history.
“The NCAA tournament is such a good accomplishment for this team, but we really wanted to make a run in the tournament, and we showed that we can,” Haines said.