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Big 12 women's soccer: Cowgirls, Sooners set to kick off 2020 season with Bedlam

Grace Yochum, shown playing against Kansas last season, will lead Oklahoma State against Oklahoma on Friday night in Norman in the season opener for both teams. [BRUCE WATERFIELD/OSU ATHLETICS]
Grace Yochum, shown playing against Kansas last season, will lead Oklahoma State against Oklahoma on Friday night in Norman in the season opener for both teams. [BRUCE WATERFIELD/OSU ATHLETICS]

The Big 12 women's soccer season begins Friday with Bedlam.

Oklahoma State will travel to Oklahoma for a 7 p.m. match on John Crain Field at the OU soccer complex.

Due to limited seating capacity related to COVID-19 precautions, OU is not selling season or single-game tickets for the 2020 soccer season. OU and OSU student-athletes will receive a limited number of complimentary tickets on a pass-list basis.

The Big 12 hopes to play a nine-game conference season with no non-conference games. Already one Big 12 women's soccer game scheduled for Friday, Texas Tech at Kansas State, had to be postponed.

OSU coach Colin Carmichael said Wednesday during a Zoom press conference that teams likely will have to juggle lineups during the season because of the coronavirus. The Cowgirls have "two or three (players) in the rotation for sure that won't be playing" against the Sooners on Friday, he said.

"This is not a normal year for so many different reasons," Carmichael said. "The good news is it's the same for OU and everyone else we play so there is no advantage or disadvantage."

After losing half of the spring season due to COVID-19, the defending Big 12 regular-season champion Cowgirls are just happy to be playing again.

"I am so beyond ready to get myself and this team out on the field and just showcase what we have been working for months on," OSU defender Hannah Webb said. "We have a really awesome group of girls who just have been really working so hard. I am ready for us to get the opportunity to see what we've got."

OSU, picked to finish second in the league's preseason coaches poll behind Texas Tech, returns eight players who started 13 games last season. The Cowgirls are coming off a 16-3-3 campaign in which they claimed their second Big 12 regular season title in the last three years with a 7-1-1 mark in league play.

OSU advanced to the second round of the NCAA Women's Soccer Championship and finished as high as 13th in the final national polls. The 2020 Cowgirls look to be a force as well.

"This team is really good and we've seen that in practice," said Grace Yochum, one of three preseason all-conference selections for the Cowgirls. "I think we have the potential to win the Big 12."

OU will have a different look as the Sooners added a new head coach, four transfers and seven freshmen during the offseason. The Sooners finished 8-9-3 overall and 3-5-1 in Big 12 play last season and replaced head coach Matt Potter, who had guided OU the past eight seasons, with Mark Carr in January.

Carr spent the last six years coaching with the U.S. Soccer Federation, serving the last year as head coach of the Under-20 Women's National Team as it prepared for World Cup qualifying in February 2020. He also was head coach of the University of San Francisco's women's team from 2007 through 2011.

Carr said it has been challenging as the team adjusts to a new style of play and new players.

"We are not even close to what we can become," Carr said after last weekend's scrimmage. "We are nowhere what we can be and that will be the goal as we kind of progress week to week through the Big 12 season."

Yochum, who was injured Oct. 22 and missed the last six games of last season, is thankful the Big 12 is giving the member schools a chance to play this season.

"There is a lot of teams out there that aren't," Yochum said. "We get reminded of that every day."

Webb said there is still a lot of uncertainty about the future because of the coronavirus, but for now they are just grateful to get to play Friday night against the Sooners.

"Every single opportunity you get this season you can't take it for granted," she said.

Ed Godfrey

Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more... Read more ›