Oklahoma State (10-4-3) at Milwaukee (4-7-1) Sunday, Oct. 21 1 p.m. Engelmann Stadium (2,000)
Oklahoma State OSU takes a break from Big 12 Conference action this weekend when the Cowgirls travel north to take on the Milwaukee Panthers of the Horizon League on Sunday at Engelmann Stadium. OSU takes a 10-4-3 mark into Sunday's match, which kicks off at 1 p.m. The Cowgirls are coming off the best season in school history after going 22-2-2 a year ago, along the way setting a school record for wins, advancing to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight for the second-straight year and winning a fourth consecutive Big 12 Conference championship. In 2012, OSU returns six starters from last season, led by a senior trio that includes All-American AD Franch and All-Big 12 performers Carson Michalowski and Megan Marchesano. This year's senior class is five players strong, and that group has won nearly 80 percent of its games. OSU is the preseason favorite to repeat as Big 12 regular season champions, and the Cowgirls will be looking for their seventh consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance in 2012.
The Opponent Milwaukee is 4-7-1 on the season, which includes a 2-3-1 mark on its home field, entering a Friday match at Green Bay. The Panthers have earned NCAA Tournament berths in each of the last four seasons and eight times since 2000. Sunday's match marks the first ever between OSU and Milwaukee.
On The Air & The Web Fans wishing to follow this weekend's matches can do so in a variety of ways. Live stats will be available at www.okstate.com (link is under Schedule), and a free live webcast of the match can be found on the Horizon League website at www.horizonleague.org/live/6447.
Big 12's Best OSU was selected by the Big 12's coaches -- as well as several other outlets -- as the favorite to repeat as conference champions in 2012. The Cowgirls have won four consecutive Big 12 titles and has captured five conference championships in the last nine seasons -- three tournament (2003, '09, '10) and two regular season (2008, '11). OSU finished the 2011 regular season 17-0-2, joining the 1996 Nebraska team as the only Big 12 Conference teams in history to go unbeaten during the regular season. The Cowgirls went 6-0-2 in conference play to claim their second regular-season Big 12 title, and in doing so they became the first Big 12 team since Texas A&M in 2002 to complete the league schedule without a loss.
Much Respect The Cowgirls were ranked No. 5 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire preseason poll, which marks the highest preseason ranking in program history. After climbing to as high as No. 3 and being in the rankings each of the season's first nine weeks, OSU fell out of the NSCAA top 25 las week. That ended OSU's program-record streak of consecutive weeks in the national rankings at 38, a mark that dated back to the 2010 preseason. Last month, the Cowgirls had their record streak of 16-straight weeks being ranked in the top five of the NSCAA poll come to an end. They were ranked in the top five for the final 12 weeks in 2011, including a span of eight weeks in which they held the No. 2 spot. OSU was ranked No. 5 in the final 2011 NSCAA poll, which marked the second-straight year the Cowgirls finished fifth in the final national rankings.
Seniors Rule OSU's 2012 senior class (Franch, Gray, Kippenberger, Marchesano and Michalowski) is currently the second-winningest senior class in the nation. Over the last three-plus years, the Cowgirls own a 67-17-9 (.769) record. The next closest senior class win total from the Big 12 is West Virginia with 54. Stanford's senior class leads the way with an 85-3-4 mark, while Florida State's is 67-18-3.
Second To One With its 52-10-7 record since 2010, OSU owns the second-most wins in the nation over the last two-plus seasons. The Cowgirls' win total trails only Stanford, which is 60-2-4 over the span.
Making History OSU is coming off a record-setting 2011 season in which the Cowgirls captured the second regular season Big 12 championship in program history before advancing to the NCAA Championship Elite Eight for the second-straight year. OSU finished the season with a 22-2-2 record, which included an 8-2-0 conference mark. The 22 wins is a school record.
Century Mark With the win over Creighton on Sept. 2, 2011, OSU head coach Colin Carmichael notched his 100th career victory. In his eighth season at the helm, Carmichael sports a career mark of 126-33-22 (.757). Karen Hancock, now a Cowgirl assistant, served as OSU's first-ever head coach and was 110-89-19 in 11 seasons.
21 & 15 OSU set a program record with a 21-match unbeaten streak to open the 2011 season. The Cowgirls' first loss came to Texas A&M in the Big 12 Championship final. The Cowgirls won their first 15 games in 2011, which also set a school record.
Home Sweet Home The Cowgirls are 8-0-3 on their home field this season. OSU is 33-1-4 (.921) at the Cowgirl Soccer Complex since 2010, and the Cowgirls sport a 51-3-4 record (.914) on their home field since 2008. They are 109-27-11 (.779) all time on their current home field.
Young Guns OSU's regular starting lineup consists of five freshmen and two sophomores. The roster includes 11 freshmen, and six of those have started games this season. Among the talented crop having an immediate impact on the pitch are a trio of Cowgirls -- Allie Stephenson, Kelsey Bass and Madison Mercado -- who have earned a spot in the starting lineup in each of OSU's first 17 games. Freshmen have combined to record 11 of OSU's 31 goals and nine of its 17 assists.
Hermann Watch For the sixth-straight year, OSU placed a player on the Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy Watch List as senior goalie AD Franch made the 38-player list. The Hermann Trophy is considered the highest individual honor in collegiate soccer. Franch was one of 15 semifinalists for the Hermann Trophy in 2010 and 2011. Yolanda Odenyo (2008) is the only other Cowgirl to be named a semifinalist.
Star Watch OSU had four players named to the 2012 Preseason All-Big 12 Team -- goalie AD Franch, defender Carson Michalowski, forward Megan Marchesano and midfielder Taylor Mathews. The Cowgirls' four selections tied West Virginia for most in the league. Franch is a three-time All-Big 12 First Team honoree, while Michalowski earned All-Big 12 First Team honors as a junior after being named to the second team as a sophomore. Marchesano was a second-team selection in 2011. Franch has also been tabbed a preseason All-American by Soccer America, while she and Michalowski are preseason All-American choices by College Sports Madness.
Shutouts and Scores OSU has established itself as one of the top defensive programs in the country. The Cowgirls led the Big 12 in shutouts in five of the last six seasons (2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011), recording 74 shutouts in 145 games during that span, and have six shutouts in 17 games this season. In 2011, OSU led the NCAA with 18 shutouts and a 0.337 goals against average, and the Cowgirls' .922 save percentage ranked as the fourth-best in a single season in NCAA history. The Cowgirls don't just thrive on defense. They've also led the Big 12 in goals scored in two of the last four seasons (74 in '08 and 52 in '10); they were second in the league with 56 goals a year ago and are currently fourth this season with 31. Their 3.22 goals per game average in 2008 led the NCAA.
You Get Nothing With the rest of her senior season still remaining, goalie AD Franch already owns OSU's career shutouts record with 38. She set the mark against Oklahoma on Aug. 26, 2011, by notching her 22nd shutout in just her 51st career game. Erin Stigler, whose record Franch broke, had 21 shutouts in 64 games from 2005-08. Franch finished her junior campaign with an OSU single-season record 12 shutouts. She led the Big 12 in shutouts in each of her first three collegiate seasons, setting a then-OSU record with 11 as a freshman and then recording nine in 2010. Franch's 38 shutouts rank second in Big 12 history (behind Nebraska's Karina LeBlanc) and are tied for sixth on the NCAA's all-time list (Wisconsin's Heather Taggart has the record w/52). A native of Salina, Kan., Franch also owns OSU's career goals-against average record at 0.65, which ranks sixth all time in the Big 12. She allowed just seven goals in 20 games a year ago, and her 0.35 goals-against average ranked second nationally.
Kelley Makes 'Em Count Junior midfielder Kristen Kelley has a knack for big goals as six of her nine career scores have been game winners. Last season, each of her three goals was a game winner in a 1-0 contest.
Award-Winning Performance Freshman midfielder Madison Mercado was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week on Aug. 28 after a weekend in which she recorded a pair of goals in a win over Creighton. She is the first Cowgirl freshman to notch multiple goals in a game since 2010.
Scoring Machine Senior forward Megan Marchesano continues to make her mark as one of the top scorers in Oklahoma State history. Through 17 games this season, Marchesano leads the Cowgirls with 10 goals and 23 points, both of which rank in the top three of the Big 12. She is also tied for second in the league and ranks 19th nationally with four game-winning goals. She has scored goals in nine of OSU's last 15 games, which includes a streak of four-straight matches with a score (Vandy, Creighton, UAB, Memphis). As a junior, Marchesano earned All-Big 12 Second Team honors as a utility player after racking up a team-high 10 assists and adding five goals. In 86 career games, Marchesano ranks in the top 10 on OSU's career charts in goals (tied for 5th with 27), assists (9th with 17) and points (8th with 71).
The Best Of What's Around OSU had three players named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com Women's National Top 100 Midseason Rankings, while four Cowgirls earned a spot among the website's top 20 players in the Big 12 Conference. Highlighting the National Top 100 list was goalie AD Franch, who earned the No. 5 spot in the rankings. The next Cowgirl on the list was defender Carson Michalowski, who came in at No. 38, while forward Megan Marchesano occupied the 71st spot. The Cowgirl senior trio was also highlighted in TopDrawerSoccer.com's Big 12 rankings. Franch was listed as the conference's top player, with Michalowski at No. 4 and Marchesano at No. 11. Additionally, defender Miriam Rhinehart occupied the 14th spot among the top 20.
Big Shoes To Fill OSU lost eight players off last season's squad, and that senior class set a lofty standard to maintain. The group of Sarah Brown, Elizabeth DeLozier, Colleen Dougherty, Becky Garrett, Krista Lopez, Melinda Mercado, Annika Niemeier and Kyndall Treadwell finished as the NCAA's fourth-winningest 2011 senior class as OSU went 75-14-10 (.808) over their four seasons. Seven players in the class played 84 or more games in their careers, and the class included an All-American and two-time Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year (Mercado) as well as five players who earned All-Big 12 status during their tenure in Stillwater.
Clutch When It Counts OSU has made seven appearances in the NCAA Women's Soccer Championship and ranks ninth all-time in tourney winning percentage among teams that have played at least 15 games. The Cowgirls are 9-4-4 in the NCAA Tournament, which translates to a .647 winning percentage.
Coach Carmichael Radio Show OSU head coach Colin Carmichael will discuss all things Cowgirl soccer during a radio show throughout the 2012 season. The show is hosted by the voice of Cowgirl soccer, Bill Van Ness, and will air live from the Old School Bagel Cafe in Stillwater from 6-7 p.m. on KSPI 93.7 FM. Fans can also listen to the show online at okstate.tv. Two remaining shows are scheduled for Oct. 23 and Nov. 6.