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OSU v. OU women's soccer match preview

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OSU vs. Baylor

Oklahoma State's Olyvia Dowell defends the ball from Baylor's Maddie Algya at the Oklahoma State vs. Baylor soccer game on October 31, 2019 at Neal Patterson Stadium.

The Oklahoma State women’s soccer team has waited 294 days to play 90 minutes of competitive soccer.

After COVID-19 delayed the start of the Big 12 women’s soccer season, the defending Big 12 champion Cowgirls are extremely eager to get back on the pitch. The Cowgirls will begin their title defense at 7 p.m. Friday night with the Battle of Bedlam at John Crain Field in Norman.

“I am so beyond ready to get myself and this team out on the field and showcase what we’ve been working on,” senior defender Hannah Webb said. “We have an awesome group of girls and I’m ready to show what we’ve got.

Just like life in the COVID-19 era can be full of unknowns, coach Colin Carmichael said that the 2020 Oklahoma Sooners are full of unknowns as well. A new head coach in former U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team head coach Mark Carr and the graduation of the Sooners’ top goal scorer Kaylee Dao contribute to those unknowns.

“We know some of their players from previous season but Mark (Carr) will have his own ideas on how and where they should play,” Carmichael said. “Normally, you would have video and would be able to scout the opposition.”

Carmichael also said that because of these unknowns, his team has been focused on themselves rather than the opponent.

A Look at the Opponent:

The Sooners enter their 2020 campaign following an 8-9-3 record a season ago. In the graduation of Dao, the Sooners lose more than half of their offensive production.

In 2019, Dao accounted for 13 of the 24 total goals scored by OU. This no doubt leaves some big shoes to fill.

In an attempt to fill the gap in the Sooners’ midfield, Carr was able to sign one of his former United States Youth National Team (USYNT) players in sophomore Oregon transfer Sakura Yoshida along with three other Division I transfer players.

University of Kansas transfer Brianna Amos, Georgia transfer Reagan Glisson and Virginia Tech transfer Olivia Odle add a wealth of top tier Division I soccer to OU. These four transfers arrive in Norman with a combined 144 played games.

During her time in Eugene, Oregon, Yoshida led the Ducks with six assists. The 2019 Pac-12 All-Freshman Team selection adds top-tier experience to the Sooners’ midfield.

In addition to Yoshida, the Sooners return veteran experience in Japanese national senior Yukka Kurosaki and sophomore defensive midfielder Maya McCutcheon as well as a strong core of defenders.

Kurosaki and McCutcheon combined for six goals a season ago. The 2020 Sooners do have plenty of Big 12 experience on their roster with only a small incoming freshmen class of seven.

Friday’s match marks the 39th all-time meeting between the two in-state rivals. Up to this point, the Cowgirls have been the dominant side posting an impressive 29-3-9 record in the Bedlam series.

“We’re as competitive as it gets and when that whistle blows, we are going to do everything in our power to win the game,” Carmichael said.

sports.ed@ocolly.com