The early-September Florida trip didn’t bode well for the Cowgirls, dropping a match to Miami and tying with FAU, but that hasn’t fazed them the past two weeks.
Since the 0-1-1 trip in the Sunshine State, the Cowgirls have a four-match win streak, including Sunday’s 2-0 win over No. 25 Brown.
The difference between OSU’s performance in Florida and its performance as of late has been like night and day.
“Our kids are learning,” OSU coach Colin Carmichael said. “I have to keep reminding myself that. We’ve got five brand new starters and a lot of new players who play a lot of minutes and you can’t expect to gel in a week of preseason. It’s just not going to happen.”
Carmichael does have a fairly new team, nine of the 17 players who had minutes in Sunday’s match haven’t played minutes in an OSU uniform before this year.
Patience has been a key word used around press conferences all season, and for Carmichael and the Cowgirls, waiting has finally paid off and will continue heading into Big 12 play.
“We kind of knew it might take four, five, six or seven games to get us going,” Carmichael said. “I don’t like to be patient, but we’ve had to be patient. I think now you’re starting to see Liv (Olivia Dowell) and Gracie B (Bindbeutel) are playing well off each other and X’s (Xcaret Pineda) confidence is growing.”
The change in schemes and sets is what’s noticeable, Carmichael adjusted the lineups after the loss to Miami. Instead of going with a 3-4-2-1 set, the Cowgirls have lined up in a 3-5-2, which allows a more balanced attack. Since the adjustment, OSU has outscored opponents 13-1.
“We’ve moved Ally (Jackson) back to the middle, that seems to give us better balance,” Carmichael said. “We’re playing Gracie B (Bindbeutel) up closer to Liv (Olivia Dowell) and that seems to help in the attack. We’ve made subtle differences as we’ve learned out kids, but the main thing is the kids are learning to play with each other and I think today they learned the effort necessary to win a big time game.”