By James Hill
SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- The fourth-seeded Colorado Buffaloes advanced to their third Big 12 championship final in four years in a double-overtime semifinal game Friday. The match went to penalty kicks after a 1-1 tie with top-seeded Oklahoma State at Blossom Soccer Stadium.
Colorado (14-3-4) will face the winner of No. 3 Missouri and seventh-seeded Kansas at Noon on Sunday in the championship game.
The Buffaloes, who advanced to the final in 2005 and 2006, edged Oklahoma State 3-2 on penalty kicks. Colorado senior goalkeeper Kirstin Radlinski made two straight saves in the penalty kicks portion of the game. Radlinski set a Colorado record for saves, with 12 in the game, not including three in the penalty kicks.
"We just saw a really good soccer game where two teams battled to the end pretty even," said Colorado head coach Bill Hempen. "Kirstin Radlinski was definitely the star of the game. She was unbelivable in overtime and that just allowed us to stay in the game, because we didn't have a whole lot left. Our number one goal is to get our players as physically back in as we can. Again, we put ourselves in position to have a go at the final and we couldn't be more pleased."
Making the penalty kicks for the Buffaloes, ranked 16th nationally, were junior forward Nikki Marshall, senior defender Michelle Wenino and freshman midfielder Kate Russell, who gave Colorado the 3-2 lead. OSU, the regular-season Big 12 champion, had PKs from sophomore midfielder Annika Niemeier and junior defender Bridget Miller.
Colorado, which lost in penalty kicks in last year's first round to Texas, was first on the board Friday as freshman midfielder Kelly Butler scored her fourth goal of the season, with an assist from freshman defender Caroline Danneberg in the 63rd minute. Oklahoma State junior forward Kasey Langdon picked up her 12th goal and evened the game at 1-1 in the 77th minute, getting an assist from senior defender Jessica Jarrell. Cowgirls senior goalkeeper Erin Stigler recorded eight saves in the game.
The Cowgirls (17-1-3), ranked No. 8 nationally, led 28-17 in shots, with 13-9 on goal. Oklahoma State, which won the Big 12 title in 2003, held a 6-4 edge in corner kicks. The Cowgirls lost to Texas - by penalty kicks - in the 2007 semifinals.
"It was such an intense game," Radlinski said. "I felt like I had to be on my toes the entire game because they kept coming at us. When we didn't have the ball it was kind of frantic trying to organize the defense. But we were able to hold them to just one goal."