For Cowgirl soccer coach Colin Carmichael, it hit him when he got his COVID test this morning. For Grace Yochum, the realization came during the walkout and starting lineup introductions.
They finally got to play a meaningful soccer game today.
Oklahoma State beat Little Rock 3-0 on Sunday in Stillwater. It was the Cowgirls’ first game since November, and their excitement that had been building was unleashed.
“They were very excited, as you would imagine,” Carmichael said. “They were just chomping at the bit, ready to go. Tired of beating up on each other.”
After a preseason consisting of Cowgirl-on-Cowgirl competition, lining up against a team of strangers was a welcome change.
“It’s so much better when you can finally play against someone other than yourself,” junior midfielder Grace Yochum said. “In preseason and practice leading up, you’re all competing and getting after it. And it’s great, but you’re ready for another competition. Somebody else to play against.”
The Cowgirls played and played hard.
Carmichael said his team came out with a lot of energy in the first half, and it showed. OSU didn’t waste any time scoring its first goal of the spring. Yochum controlled a loose ball in the box and blasted it home, making the score 1-0.
The sun was shining, the offense was humming and the defense pitched a shutout. For the Cowgirls, the first game was an enjoyable one.
“I just had a lot of fun,” sophomore forward Olyvia Dowell said. “I just went out there and enjoyed what I was doing. Sometimes I feel like I’m a little too uptight when I go play. This was just another opportunity for our team to be successful and go farther and get better.”
Even after Dowell tacked on two goals later in the match to make the score 3-0, the Cowgirls played hard.
Even as Carmichael subbed in players who he felt were deserving of playing time who were not able to get in the fall, both Yochum and Dowell had challenges late in the match that resulted in hard falls.
But who cares? The Cowgirls were competing and having fun, and Carmichael was happy with the competitiveness exhibited by his team in the spring opener.
“We sort of preach to them that we don’t care if we’re winning 5-0 or losing 5-0, we want to compete,” Carmichael said.
Though it may be somewhat of an awkward combination, the match featured a mix of competitiveness, fun and relaxation. For OSU, the combination is a winning one.
“I just went out there and had fun,” Dowell said. “I think that when anybody plays more relaxed and just enjoys what they are doing that you play better.”