By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER, Okla. —
No matter the sport — football, basketball or even women’s soccer — athletic events against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State need just one word to describe them — Bedlam.
For the Cowgirl soccer team, littered with athletes from the state of Oklahoma, Bedlam is a game they have circled on the calender. And this year, it also happens to be OSU’s first home game of the year.
“It’s really exciting. It’s been so built up through football and through every sport that growing up as a kid you root for one team and then when you are actually playing in it, it’s a big deal,” said senior Kristen Kelley, a Tulsa native.
There is also plenty of motivation beyond the normal rivalry game for the Cowgirls. Last year, Oklahoma State failed to register a win against the Sooners. OU won the non-conference contest in Norman and the teams battled to a tie in Stillwater during Big 12 play.
“It’s huge. Historically, we’ve had a lot of success against OU and last year we put probably seven freshmen on the field in the Bedlam game and we didn’t play particularly well,” Cowgirl coach Colin Carmichael said. “I think a lot of that goes down to the nerves, and the newness, and the unknown of that game. But those same kids are back this year and now OU is probably going to start six or seven freshmen. Either way, it’s going to be a tough game.”
Though Oklahoma State will be young again for this year’s Bedlam series with 10 true freshmen on the roster with several expected to start, the Cowgirls have momentum on their side from the opening weekend.
After scoring a late goal for a 1-0 victory over Tennessee-Martin, the Cowgirls had to rally against Vanderbilt to play to a 2-2 draw.
“We learned they’ve got a little bit of toughness in them,” Carmichael said. “To be able to dig deep and find a way to win on Friday, against a very stubborn team who made it difficult for us, then to be down to Vandy — who I think is going to go on and have a good season — and find a way to come back in that game showed a lot of character.”
Leading the charge for the Cowgirls in the opening weekend was one of those 10 freshmen — Courtney Dike, a native of Edmond who was also recruited by Oklahoma out of Edmond North. After recording seven shots in the opening victory over UT Martin, Dike scored both goals against Vandy.
“I think in the exhibition game (against Oral Roberts) she was nervous, and the first half of UT Martin she didn’t play to get capability, but that second half and the whole game against Vandy, she was excellent,” Carmichael said.
Now Dike, and the other first-year freshmen, will get to harness their talents on Bedlam. A game that even they need no help in understanding its magnitude, even if it doesn’t count toward the Big 12 Conference standings until their second game in Norman on Oct. 4.
“I’m really excited. Bedlam is always a fun game to watch, I’m sure it will be a fun game to play,” Dike said. “It’ll be a good time.”