Cowgirls Make History With 2-1 Victory

While the Mike Gundy-led Oklahoma State football team began treading on unchartered ground with a 33-16 win over the traditional power Texas Longhorns, back home on Sunday afternoon the Oklahoma State Cowgirls paved their own path into unchartered territory. Colin Carmichael's team used a fourth straight come-from-behind win to advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA as they defeated Oregon State 2-1.

It is the Cowgirls record 19th win of the season and extends this season longer than any other in Cowgirls history.

"It means so much for this program and we've been so close in the past," said Carmichael, who has been a part of the program from the beginning along with original head coach Karen Hancock.

"We have, I guess, complained in the past about not being at home (in the NCAA) and losing so many close games on the road. We were so thankful that we got to play in front of our fans. We're excited to be in the Sweet 16, it's a program first, an all-time high 19 wins. It's these kids that did it, they are never down and out even when they fall behind and it is a real pleasure to work with them every day."

For the fourth straight match, the Cowgirls trailed 1-0 at the half and this time it was potentially momentum killing as Oregon State's leading scorer Chelsea Buckland scorched a 30-yard drive into the net from just under the crossbar with six seconds left in the first half.

"We knew Oregon State was a great team because they went 7-2 in the Pac-10 and that may be the best conference for soccer in the country," said Carmichael. "We knew they were quality and I think that is a bigger statement about our kids that they came back against that kind of competition. I must say the fans played a big role as well. They gave our kids that extra energy to help our kids get it done."

"It was definiely a downer," said Carson Michalowski of the late first half goal by Oregon State. "Colin told us to shake it off."

"We did not want to get on them about the goal because there was nothing we could do about it and we didn't want to correct it then," said Carmichael of some really good coaching. "We wanted to motivate them for the second half. We will address it in practice and get it fixed."

The resilient Cowgirls, like they did against Nebraska and Oklahoma in the Big 12 Tournament and in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on a rainy, cold Friday, forgot they were behind and pushed harder in the second half. Actually, Oregon State was winning a lot of balls until Sarah Brown's throw in resulted in a header by Katie Richardson that Elizabeth DeLozier quicky pop shot into the goal with 16:41 left in the match.

"I have to give credit to Browny. Sarah Brown made a tremendous throw and I just got on the end of it and got us a goal," said DeLozier before later screaming over being asked about being in the Sweet 16. "It was definitely a team effort. I just so proud of the team because we've been working for this since the beginning of the season.

"Now we're hosting (Sweet 16). What could be better than that?"

That goal really ignited the Cowgirls and with 9:02 to play a Krista Lopez shot shortly after a Taylor Matthews cornerkick was put in on the rebound by Michalowski.

"Krista played a great ball across and I was there, thankfully to put it in," said Michalowski. "I kind of tripped over it."

"Obviously, it is an honor to play with all of these girls," said the freshman Matthews, who started the play. "I look up to all of them, both on and off the field. They are my best friends and I play for them. We play as a team."

The Cowgirls held on from there for history on Sunday afternoon in front of a very lively Oklahoma State crowd of 1,400-plus that kept growing throughout the match.

They will get to see more NCAA Tournament soccer as Duke upset second seed in the region, Florida 4-2 on penalty kicks after a 0-0 match. The Cowgirls now host traditional ACC women's soccer powerhouse Duke on Friday at Cowgirls Soccer Stadium.

"Since Duke beat the two seed Florida and we are the higher seed they will come here Friday night," said Carmichael. "I believe we get to set the time and date and Friday at 7 (p.m.) is my understanding.

"It is a one-game deal and if we win we advance to the Elite Eight. Duke is a traditional powerhouse, great team. I know their coach well and it will be another great matchup like today."

Credit must be given to all of those Cowgirls players, past and present, to Carmichael, and to Karen Hancock, the coach that started the program with his help and is now in the role of assistant. Thanks also to assistant coach Justin Elkington. Oklahoma State Cowgirls soccer has hit the NCAA big time and they may not be done yet.

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