Oklahoma State was defeated for the first time this season Friday night as Bedlam-rival Oklahoma knocked off the Cowgirls by a 1-0 count in a non-conference showdown at John Crain Field.
Kaylee Dao’s header in the 81st minute provided the lone goal in the match as OSU fell to 1-1-1 while the Sooners are now 2-0-1.
OU controlled the attack throughout the majority of the contest, owning a 17-4 advantage in shots in the match, keeping the OSU defense on its heels and forcing goalie Michela Ongaro to record seven saves, one shy of her career high.
“Oklahoma had a bunch of territory and when you have that much territory, you’ve got time and space so naturally you’re going to get shots off,” said OSU associate head coach Justin Elkington. “Fair play to (OU), but you’ve got to look at some of the young players we had in there that were trying to get to grips with the occasion and the atmosphere and dealing with the big crowd. It’s disappointing, but fair play to them.
“(Ongaro) kept us in it – she made some big-time saves and that’s what she’s capable of doing. It wasn’t for lack of effort or lack of trying. Michela is a leader back there, and she did the best she could.”
In the opening half, OU created several scrambles in the box that resulted in near misses as the Cowgirl defense and Ongaro rose to the occasion to disrupt play and keep the home team off the scoreboard.
OSU’s best scoring chance came in the 71st minute as the Cowgirls nearly got on the board first when Courtney Dike went endline and sent a pass out to Niki McKnight. But McKnight’s shot from 12-yards out was saved by OU keeper Kassidie Stade to keep the match scoreless.
In the 79th minute, Ongaro made a highlight-reel save as she dove to her left to deflect a blast off the foot of Jordy Knox-Webster. Seconds later, the Cowgirls dodged a bullet when a shot by Shiloh Price caromed off the crossbar.
But the Cowgirls couldn’t keep OU out of the net. Off a short corner kick, Price lofted a ball into the box that Dao headed to the near post to put the Sooners up 1-0 with 9:13 remaining in regulation.
“The only way we were going to get out of regulation was getting a shutout,” Ongaro said. “My defense showed up all game, everybody played great defense, but when you’re defending for 80, 90 minutes… We were trying to keep the ball a little up top, but credit to OU they did well and shut us down up top. So a lot of the ball was in our half, and we were struggling to keep it out. After 80 minutes of defending, those defenders get tired.
“It’s hard to keep the ball out of the net for 90 minutes. Credit to my defenders for doing well, but a clean sheet was what we needed.”