Futbol: Next best thing

So why can the Latin countries go insane for the sport, but a few of OSU's finest fans can't even be lured with free admission? Futbol or football, there will be plenty of both in a couple of months. Cowgirl soccer is on the rise...and it isn't too late to witness the chicks that can really kick it.

 

Matt Palmer

Staff Writer

datguy01@hotmail.com

 

With the high expectations and anticipation of Oklahoma State's upcoming football season, it can easily be assumed that most thoughts and concerns of OSU sports fans are focused solely on their gridiron demigods.

 

This simply shouldn't be the case.                  

 

There is another OSU sport that shows promise this fall, and it deserves at least a slice of the anticipation pie.

The OSU soccer team returns on Aug. 23 – one week before its touchdown-scoring counterparts – against SMU and having lost only three players to graduation.

 

In fact, with only two seniors on the squad this year, the next two years could be golden for the program.

 

"I think these next two years are very promising for us if we stay healthy. I really do," said OSU soccer coach Karen Hancock. "We've got some talented players and we've got some hard working players. It's really going to depend on how far this team wants to go, how bad they want it."

 

However, the Cowgirls do have one major concern at goalkeeper. As a senior, Kat Doud collected a solid 57 saves and a 12-5 record. Numbers that will be sorely missed as young, inexperienced goalies compete for the position.

 

"We had an All-Big 12 keeper in goal," Hancock said. "We've got inexperience coming into that position. It's probably going to be our greatest concern to see what player steps up in that role and gets the job done for us."

 

Sophomore Kendra Rainbolt, redshirt freshman Erin Corbin and freshman Kathrin Lehmann will compete in an attempt to duplicate Doud's successes.

 

At the remaining positions, OSU has at least some experience at each, including three seniors – forwards Jere Boykin and Kim Graves, and midfielder Joanne Edwards.

 

As it is hard to improve upon perfection – 10-0 in nonconference games – the Cowgirls sights are set on refining their conference schedule.

 

After last year's first-ever trip to the Big 12 tourney, the team has a craving for the top half of the bracket.

 

"We want to do better than that (last season's conference record), and we think we can do better than that," Hancock said. "But we also are very aware that in our conference, the teams seeded fourth and tenth, right now, are usually one to one and a half games' difference. Ideally we would like to win five games or more in the Big 12 Conference this year."

 

From there, Hancock said if they could win one or two games in the Big 12 Tournament, anything could happen.

And after last season's strong and unexpected display, the possibility is certainly there, making them deserving of some respect and attention.

 

While the OSU soccer facilities received a facelift recently, the fan base has yet to sea a dramatic change. Family members and friends of the players still dominate the bleachers at most home games.

 

If ever there was a year for a change to occur, it is this one.

 

"When we left for the summer break we had a team meeting and a lot of kids seemed focused on taking a step up in our conference and seeing where they can take themselves," Hancock said. "I think they're all working hard this summer, training hard, getting fit."

 

Their commitment and improvement on the field should begin producing when OSU commences practice on Aug. 11.

 

The unfortunate side of the coin is soccer's lack of prominence in the United States. Football and basketball thrive, kicking soccer and other more universally popular sports to wayside.

 

The rest of the world understands and loves soccer, and it is time for the United States, including OSU, to share in the fun at the college level.


 


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