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The shot heard ‘round Stillwater: Olyvia Dowell’s game-winning goal and the story behind It

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Olyvia Dowell breaks for the ball at the OSU vs. West Virginia women's soccer game on September 25, 2020 at Neal Patterson Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Adam Engel, Ben Hutchens and Sam Hutchens break down OSU's thrilling 2-1 victory over West Virginia

Olyvia Dowell’s night ended perfectly — at the bottom of a pile.

On Friday night, the No. 6 Oklahoma State Cowgirls and No. 4 West Virginia Mountaineers had played 109 minutes of soccer. With 29 seconds left in the second and final overtime period, Dowell, an OSU midfielder, scored a goal to break the sudden death tie.

In the waning seconds of the match, OSU forward Gabriella Coleman played a ball into the box where Dowell trapped it with her side to the goal and a defender obstructing part of the goal.

“At the moment I was thinking, Shoot, shoot, shoot,’ but clearly I don’t know what I’m talking about because she had it under control,” OSU coach Colin Carmichael said.

Instead of pulling the trigger on a shot like fans, coaches and players were yelling at her to do, Dowell calmly turned to get a better angle to the goal.

“My first touch wasn’t great I felt like,” Dowell said of the moment. “I didn’t want to force a shot and then I saw (OSU defender Charmé Morgan) for a second and I was like I don’t know, and then I just started dribbling around and tried to gain two yards of space to get a shot off and hope it goes in.”

OSU defender Hannah Webb watched the sequence unfold before her eyes.

“I said, ‘Liv do your thing,’” Webb said. “I’m not going to sit there and tell Liv how to play soccer cause that girl knows how to do it. When she got the ball at her feet I was like ‘Spin her, do her up, do your thing.’ Because she is a great player and I trust her instincts.”

Dowell’s shot squeezed into the bottom right corner of the goal, past the diving arms of WVU goalkeeper Maddie Murphy. The game was over, and the celebration immediately started as Dowell was mobbed by her team.

“She is a kid that doesn’t get flustered, doesn’t get rattled and picked her moment and scored,” Carmichael said. “She had it under control the whole time.”

It is incredible that Dowell was able to maintain such a sense of calmness in a moment when there were only 29 seconds left and the match’s outcome rested entirely on her shoulders. Something more incredible is that Dowell has been in a situation like that before.

“In high school (I scored the game-winning goal) with like 12 seconds left,” Dowell said. “The one in high school made history. At the school I was at my senior year, they had never made it past round two (of the playoffs) and the goal was in Round 2.

It is possible that having been in that situation before was what made Dowell so calm and collected in a moment so big that many people struggle in.

“Looking back on it, I was glad it was her and not me because I would have probably shot it over the bar and panicked, but she was just so composed in the moment and did a great job,” Carmichael said.

Dowell’s late match heroics turned what would have been a draw on home turf into a victory, however, she provided more than just a boost in the Big 12 soccer standings.

“It gives us a bunch of confidence,” Carmichael said. “I think it’s too early to call it a defining moment yet, but we may look back on it and say it is.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com