OU soccer: Season-opening match a 'hell of a game,' Sooners say
Astrud Reed, The Oklahoma Daily
The OU soccer team kicked off the 2012 season Friday night with a 2-1 win against Nebraska at John Crain Field in Norman.
The win comes in new coach Matt Potter's first game with Oklahoma.
“Winning never sucks, does it?” Potter said. “It gives us a platform to move forward.”
The Sooners received big-time performances from senior goalkeeper Kelsey Devonshire and senior forward Renae Cuellar that fueled the Sooners to an opening day victory.
Cuellar led the Sooners’ offense, scoring both of the team’s goals and firing off four shots on goal.
“Obviously, Renae is a talent, and we all know that,” Potter said. “What I was really pleased (with) was the framework she played within the concept of our team. People found her, and when people find her, she’s going to be dangerous.”
Not to be outdone, Devonshire locked down Nebraska, recording seven of her eight saves in the second half and preserving the Sooners lead.
“The saves she pulled off in the second half to keep us in the game, she deserves a highlight moment like that,” Potter said.
Devonshire’s teammates also took notice of their keeper’s stellar performance.
“Right after the game, they all came up and thanked me, and they were just like, ‘That was a hell of a game,’” Devonshire said. “We just kind of thank each other. That’s what it’s all about — teamwork.”
The Sooners missed an opportunity to score in the eighth minute off a perfectly placed corner kick from senior forward Annalisa Hall that caught nothing but air before the ‘Huskers regained possession.
Nebraska took an early lead in the 18th minute on a goal from sophomore forward Mayme Conroy, but a handball on the ‘Huskers in the 25th minute led to a penalty kick from Cuellar, which she snuck past the post in the bottom right corner to knot things up at 1-1.
In the 50th minute, Cuellar was at it again, when she sent a shot ricocheting off the crossbar and nearly crossing the plain for a Sooner goal.
“I thought it went in,” Cuellar said. “But you know what, things happen in soccer. That’s why I made sure I came back and got another one.”
In the 63rd minute, Oklahoma had another great chance to score, but sophomore midfielder Emily Bowman’s header off a free kick missed wide.
Five minutes later, Cuellar scored her second goal of the night and gave the Sooners their first lead of the game, one they would never lose.
The Sooners are slated to play the second of a four-game home stand against LSU on Monday, and they will look to carry the momentum from Friday night’s win into that contest.
“If we invest, if we compete, if we give [the fans] some reason to come here and shout and scream at the top of their lungs — which they did tonight, and it was awesome — then good things can happen,” Potter said. “The win was the byproduct of that.”