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September 16, 2012

Cowgirls get past Fresno State 2-0

STILLWATER, Okla. — Oklahoma State recorded two early goals and held off Fresno State’s upset bid in the second half as the No. 7 Cowgirls posted a 2-0 win Sunday afternoon at the Cowgirl Soccer Complex.

AD Franch tied a season high with five saves, four of them coming in the final half, to notch her fourth shutout of the season and 36th of her career, while Carson Michalowski and Megan Marchesano netted goals as OSU improved to 9-1-0 heading into the start of Big 12 Conference play next week.

“The first half was really good, the second half was really bad, but I’m very pleased that we won,” said OSU head coach Colin Carmichael. “(Fresno State) played really well in the second half and gave us a lot of problems with their system. At halftime, we were cruising and maybe mentally shut it off a little bit.”

OSU got on the scoreboard at the 15:41 mark. After Marchesano was fouled in the box, Michalowski stepped up and drilled the penalty kick to the upper left post to give the home team a 1-0 advantage. The goal was the first of the season for the Cowgirls’ senior defender.

“Megan (Marchesano) did a lot of great, hard work and got hurt (on the foul). In practice, we have a couple people that consistently take (PKs), and I called it,” Michalowski said.

The Cowgirls’ second goal came just over five minutes later with Marchesano beating an FSU defender and goalie Katie Devault, who came off the line but was unable to stop OSU’s leading scorer from sending a shot to the far post for her sixth goal of the season.

OSU took the 2-0 advantage into intermission, but the second half saw an energized Fresno State squad control the offensive attack.

The Bulldogs (0-6-3) outshot OSU by a 13-4 margin in the final 45 minutes of the match, but led by their All-American goalie, the Cowgirls were able to keep FSU off the scoreboard.

In the 49th minute, it looked as though FSU had gotten on the scoreboard when, following a save by Franch, the Bulldogs sent the rebound into the back of the net. However, they were whistled for offsides to erase the score.

Just minutes later, it was the OSU back line coming up big as a Cowgirl defender kicked the ball away after Franch had come out in pursuit of the ball and given FSU an open-net opportunity.

Yet another diving save by Franch came in the 68th minute as she stopped another shot by Callie Hancock, who had nine shots, four of them on goal, in the match.

“(Franch) saved us,” Carmichael said. “That game could easily have been 2-1, 2-2 and even more of a dogfight towards the end if it wasn’t for three or four big saves. That’s why she’s there. She has some games where she doesn’t have to do too much and gets a lot of credit and some games where she earns her keep, and she certainly did that today.”

OSU begins defense of its Big 12 championship Friday when the Cowgirls travel to Lawrence, Kan., to take on Kansas before a Sunday showdown at West Virginia.

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