OSU Falls to Stanford
Oklahoma State's record-setting season came to an end in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Women's Soccer Championship Friday night as Stanford recorded a golden goal in the 93rd minute to give the top-ranked Cardinal a 2-1 overtime win at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium.
The loss marked the second-straight year the Cowgirls fell one win short of making their first-ever NCAA College Cup appearance. They finished the season with a 22-2-2 record, the best mark in program history.
"We're disappointed right now, but we'll look back on it and see what a wonderful season we had," said OSU head coach Colin Carmichael said. "To be seeded as a No. 2-seed opposite Stanford was always going to be very difficult - I thought that should be a semifinal or a final game. But to come to their home field and play them into overtime was quite an accomplishment for us.
"We're disappointed, but we'll look back on the season and just be really, really proud of what we accomplished."
Stanford (23-0-1) will be making its fourth-straight College Cup appearance after Lindsay Taylor notched the game-winning goal less than three minutes into overtime. The Cardinal forward took a pass from Rachel Quon in front of the goal and delivered a five-yard shot to propel the tourney's No. 1 overall seed into next week's semifinals.
"First, congratulations to Stanford on another tremendous season; they're a great team and played a great game," Carmichael said. "The first half, we were a little bit timid. Stanford really took the game to us, and the shots on goal showed that they dominated the first half. We defended well, but we didn't have enough belief going forward. The second half, we turned it around a little bit, became very competitive and as the game wore on late, we were able to put Stanford under a little bit more pressure and got a goal.
"It was a very difficult game. Emotionally it's pretty tough right now. It's disappointing for our team - we wanted to continue on to the final four."
That dream came up short despite the play of OSU junior goalie AD Franch, who wowed the capacity crowd of 2,000 with her play in goal, which included making six saves.
"It's the same as she's been all season - in my opinion she's the best goalkeeper in the country, and she showed it tonight," Carmichael said of Franch. "The first goal that was scored was a very good goal, and there's nothing AD could do about it. The second goal was the same way.
"She made four or six really nice saves, and that's what we've come to expect of her."
OSU's defense, statistically the nation's best, kept the Cowgirls in the contest throughout.
The Cardinal dominated the offensive attack in the opening half, outshooting OSU by a 14-1 margin, but Franch made four saves to keep Stanford off the scoreboard.
Stanford had several chances early, including a pair of shots by Chioma Ubogagu that sailed wide and a blast by Camille Levine that Franch dove to her right to save.
Franch made another standout save at the 23:50 mark, and the Cowgirls once again avoided disaster in the 25th minute when a free kick from 20-yards out by Lindsay Taylor skimmed off the top of the crossbar.
In the 33rd and 35th minutes, Franch added two more saves to her total.
OSU finally got its lone shot of the half at the 41:35 mark when Kristen Kelley sent a shot wide of the goal.
Early in the second half, the Cardinals finally broke through. In the 52nd minute, Kristy Zurmuhlen took a pass from Mariah Nogueira, turned on OSU defender Colleen Dougherty and sent a low shot to the far post from 15-yards out.
OSU nearly got the equalizer just over a minute later off a corner kick. Stanford tried to clear the ball, but it ricocheted off a Cowgirl and headed towards the post. However, a Cardinal defender cleared the ball off the line to keep the score at 1-0.
The Cowgirls had another attempt off a corner kick at the 58:23 mark, but Kelley's shot was saved by Stanford goalie Emily Oliver.
OSU would finally get the equalizer in the 69th minute. Krista Lopez sent a pass to a streaking Sarah Brown, who blasted a left-footed shot top shelf from 25-yards out to tie the score at 1-1. The Cowgirls' goal was the first allowed by Stanford in its last six games.
"I just hit it as hard as I could, and it went in - it's one of the best feelings I've ever had," said Brown, a senior whose goal was her sixth of the season.
Neither team managed much offensively over the final 20 minutes of regulation. Stanford, who outshot the Cowgirls 21-3 in the contestm recorded four shots during that stretch, but Franch added two more saves to her total.