With one sliding shot, Megan Haines slid the final puzzle piece into place.
The sophomore forward scored her first career goal on Saturday, helping Oklahoma State earn a 5-0 win against UTEP.
Haines entered the program in innocuous fashion but has emerged as a big part of the Cowgirls.
“I’m so proud of her,” coach Colin Carmichael said. “She’s come in here as a walk-on and just earned everybody’s respect for her work ethic and how hard she plays the game and her attitude towards the game. Now she’s a kid that starts a ton of games for us.”
Haines has been a good player, playing quality minutes for No. 15 Oklahoma State in her second year. One goose egg, though, plagued her stat sheet.
Entering the game, Haines had never scored a goal.
“For a while I’ve been thinking about scoring,” Haines said. “Every game I’m like ‘Maybe today will be the day’. I wasn’t going in like ‘Yes, I’m going to score’ but I was looking to get my first goal and just contribute in that way.”
With one cross from senior wingback Hannah Webb that found a streaking Haines at the back post in the 52nd minute, everything changed.
Haines deftly deflected the cross into the goal while sliding on the ground. The ball smacked the back of the net and Haines popped up joyously — both hands lifted in the air.
“It was really cool,” Haines said. “I had always been waiting for that moment when I would score my first goal…It was really cool to see my hard work pay off.”
She scores plenty in practice, but seeing Haines break through in a game was something the whole team enjoyed.
“To see her get her first goal as a sophomore in a game that counts, it was extremely exciting for me,” freshman goalkeeper Amber Lockwood said.
Multiple Cowgirls ran to Haines after she scored, embracing her in a display of support and comradery.
“I know my teammates were super happy for me,” Haines said. “My teammates have always been so encouraging to me. It was cool to celebrate that goal for myself but also with my teammates around. I know that they have been wanting me to score. They are super great teammates.”
The Cowgirls got the win and moved to 10-3-1 on the season. It was a sunny, warm March day — the first day of spring.
It also was the first day Haines could call herself an OSU goal scorer.
“I can’t say enough good things about Megan,” Carmichael said. “She’s worked really hard and deserves this moment.”