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Cowgirls Upset By Kansas In Conference Opener

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LAWRENCE, Kansas -

The defending Big 12 champion Oklahoma State Cowgirls didn't open up conference play the way they had hoped on Friday night in Lawrence.

The Kansas Jayhawks upset the No. 7 Cowgirls 2-1 in the Big 12 opener for both schools at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex.

The loss ended the Cowgirls' five-match winning streak against KU and dropped OSU to 9-2-0 on the season, while KU improved to 7-2-1.

Kansas took a quick lead 3:03 into the match when Haley Yearout sent a pass ahead to a streaking Courtney Dickerson, who beat her defender and fired a 10-yard shot past OSU's All-American goalie AD Franch.

Oklahoma State had several opportunities to tie it up before intermission but hit the post twice on near misses by Madison Mercado and George Christie. OSU had two more chances in the first half but good looks by Allie Stephenson and Megan Marchesano were turned away.

"The first half was one-way traffic in our favor – everything was in their half of the field and going towards their goal," OSU coach Colin Carmichael said. "We were a little bit unfortunate – hit the post, hit the bar – and that could have changed the game."

OSU continued to pressure the Jayhawks in the second half, with Stephenson creating another chance in the 54th minute before another diving save kept the Cowgirls off the board.

KU nearly recorded its second goal of the match in the 66th minute, but Franch made a diving save of to prevent a 2-0 deficit.

The Cowgirls finally tied it up at the 68:35 mark when Marchesano took a Stephenson pass and drilled a goal into the far corner of the net. It was Marchesano's seventh goal of the season, which is tied for the Big 12 lead.

However, the Cowgirls couldn't build any momentum off the lead as KU punched in its second goal just 28 seconds later after the Jayhawks were awarded a penalty kick, allowing a Whitney Berry goal.

OSU had a chance to tie with a corner kick in the 73rd minute but the goal keeper turned away the Cowgirls' header attempt.

"It's a tough way to start out the conference, but we did some positive things and we'll correct our mistakes and get ready for the next one," Carmichael said.

OSU returns to action on Sunday with its first-ever matchup against West Virginia in Morgantown. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m.

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