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OSU digs deep for key win in final week

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Bedlam Soccer

OSU goalkeeper Evie Vitali drop kicks the ball.

The end of the regular season featured an irregular goal scorer stepping up and an irregular result in close games.

Oklahoma State beat West Virginia 2-1 on Thursday in Morgantown, West Virginia, to conclude its regular season. 

The Cowgirls, which excelled one season ago in close games, entered their final Big 12 game of the regular season with a 1-1-2 record in one-score conference games.

The sub-par record in tight games has put the OSU soccer team which was squarely in the NCAA tournament one year ago in the bubble.

The Cowgirls scrappy performance ensured neither the rain that poured down from the West Virginia night sky nor difficulties that cropped up during the game would tarnish their chances.

OSU (9-6-2) fell behind early in the 10th minute when senior midfielder Isabella Sibley poked a ball past a diving freshman goalkeeper Evie Vitali. The lead seemed like it was destined to grow.

“So proud of my group,” coach Colin Carmichael said. “From our perspective, we weathered a bit of the storm in the first half. West Virginia super athletic team. Really tough to deal with. They had a couple chances in the first half to extend the lead but we hung in there.”

The Mountaineers played aggressive offense in the first half, logging four shots to the Cowgirls one. One shot rang off the crossbar, another rolled a couple feet wide of the right post.

OSU got to the half down one and managed to turn the game around. The Cowgirls outshot the Mountaineers 8-7 in the second half, proving the more dangerous of the teams after the halftime whistle.

“The second half we were excellent,” Carmichael said. “I though the last thirty minutes of the second half particularly we were the best team and fought our way back into the game.”

One veteran on OSU capitalized the momentum.

Senior wingback Hannah Webb found the ball in a scrum of feet by the WVU goal in the 52nd minute and managed to get a foot through a sea of legs. She tapped the ball into the back of the net for her third career goal, tying the game 1-1.

“That’s just Webb,” Carmichael said. “Perseverance, determination, nothing was keeping her out.”

That score held until overtime, but the teams would only play one minute of extra time.

Senior forward Gabriella Coleman served up an accurate cross to junior forward Olyvia Dowell, sliding a ball through the wet, slippery grass of the WVU goalie box. Dowell touched it once and sent the still-spinning ball into the upper right corner of the goal.

“Olyvia was playing hurt there in overtime,” Carmichael said. “Her groin was really tight. She said she could go and she was just ready to call it game and was able to find the goal.”

The golden goal completed OSU’s comeback against the gold and navy, moving the Cowgirls into better position to make the NCAA tournament.

OSU may still have to win a game or two to be selected, but likely avoid the fate Carmichael thought could happen if his team would have lost — having to win the whole tournament.

“I think that will put us maybe three or four in the seeding, we’re not quite sure yet,” Carmichael said. “The other games are going on right now so well be playing close attention. Whoever we get, it’ll be a tough matchup. The games we’ve won and the one’s we’ve lost.”