Top Seed OSU Opens Big 12 Championship with 3-0 Win
By James Hill
SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- The top-seeded and regular-season champion Oklahoma State Cowgirls started a bit slow in the first half, but went on to shut out the No. 8 Texas Tech Red Raiders 3-0 Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Soccer Championship at Blossom Soccer Stadium.
Oklahoma State (17-1-2), which led 1-0 at halftime, will take on fourth-seeded Colorado at 5:30 p.m. (CT) Friday in the semifinals.
"In the first half, Tech held us out in the midfield," said Cowgirls coach Colin Carmichael, recently selected as Big 12 Coach of the Year. "In the second half, we did a better job of breaking them down. We found more space on the offensive end."
The lone first-half goal – an unassisted goal – was scored by OSU senior midfielder Yolanda Odenyo, 4:31 into the game. The goal was the 35th of her career, tying an Oklahoma State record. Her 16th goal this season also established a Cowgirls record.
"We got together at halftime and talked about what we needed to improve," said Odenyo, the 2008 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year. "We came out a little faster and harder in the second half. It feels good to be able to score in the postseason, and it's good for the team."
Oklahoma State junior forward Siera Strawser scored a solo goal five minutes into the second half for 11th goal of the season. Adding a goal for good measure, in the 82 minute, was junior forward Kasey Langdon, assisted by sophomore forward Katie Richardson. It also marked Langdon's 11th season goal.
In last year's Big 12 tournament, Oklahoma State, currently ranked No. 8 nationally, was edged by Texas in the semifinals in an overtime game. The Longhorns, who won the title, outscored the Cowgirls 5-3 on penalty kicks.
"We have more offensive weapons this year," Carmichael added. "And we have more depth. We can go to the bench and keep players fresh."
Oklahoma State held a huge 20-3 lead in shots, and led 7-1 in shots on goal. The Cowgirls also led 5-4 in corner kicks.
Cowgirls senior goalkeeper Erin Stigler had one save and Texas Tech senior Tina Rincon registered three.
Texas Tech, which lost 4-3 in double-overtime last year to Missouri, dropped to 8-10-1 for the season.
"Oklahoma State showed why they are the Big 12 champions, and we give them credit," said Red Raiders coach Tom Stone. "All the pressure was on them, and they showed up with a strong performance. Coming here in back-to-back years is great experience for our young players. We now know what it takes to advance here, so it will definitely help us in the future."