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Kelley's OT Goal Sends Cowgirls To Final
November 04, 2011

SAN ANTONIO -- Oklahoma State will play for a third-straight conference title after Kristen Kelley scored from past 10 yards out in double overtime and gave the Cowgirls a 1-0 semifinal victory over Texas in the Big 12 Soccer Championship on Friday at Blossom Soccer Stadium.

The goal, Kelley's third and assisted by Miriam Rheinhart, came two minutes before the end of the regulation and the need for penalty kicks to decide which club would advance to the final. The top-seeded Cowgirls play the winner of the Missouri-Texas A&M contest that was played later Friday. The final is 3:30 p.m., on Sunday.

"It's incredible," said Kelley, a sophomore from Tulsa. "It's a great feeling to know that when you score it's over, that's the end. It's the most exciting way to go out. It's stressful, but exciting."

It was the 30th career shutout for Oklahoma State goalkeeper Adrianna Franch.

Oklahoma State is going to its fourth final, the third in as many years.

Texas (11-8-1), seeded fifth, advanced to the semis by defeating fourth-seeded Texas Tech 1-0 on Wednesday.

The Longhorns will hear Monday whether they get an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. UT coach Chris Petrucelli knows it's a longshot.

"Unfortunately, with the way our sport is run, nobody watches any games," he said. "Everything is based on a computer ranking. If anybody tonight watched our game here, I think you'd say that we're a deserving team. It adds to the disappointment knowing a win would have clinched it for us for sure, but we were two minutes away."

Oklahoma State (19-0-2), ranked second nationally, got a goal in the last three minutes in Wednesday's quarters to win 1-0 over Oklahoma.

"To play in the final again, it's really hard to get there one year, let alone two years," Kelley said. "We don't slack off because we did really well before."

Close games between these schools is nothing new. The teams tied in the regular season when the Cowgirls had won 15 straight, and last year the Longhorns snapped a 13-match unbeaten streak of Oklahoma State's.

It was a game that both teams seemed to play rather closely to the vest much of the way. The Cowgirls had nine shots through regulation, and they average 18 shots a game this year. Texas had seven shot attempts through regulation compared to the season average of 14 per game.

Oklahoma State stepped up the pressure in the first overtime with a 4-1 shots advantage, and Horns goalkeeper Alexa Gaul had to stop one of those from inside 10 yards.

The best chance coming first for either team was the 27th minute when Melinda Mercado's header deflected high off the crossbar. It was the first shot for OSU, while Texas only had a pair of shots at that time as well, with one getting on goal. That was all the action in the first 36 minutes before the Cowgirls fired another couple off before halftime.

And UT would go 26 minutes before getting a shot off, and that finally came when Kylie Doniak took a pass about 10 yards in front of the goal and almost squeezed one underneath Franch two minutes into the second half.

Another nice OSU defensive play lead to the next near goal 22 minutes later. After Mercado came away with a steal in midfield, the ball was advanced to Cowgirls midfielder Annika Niemeier. She slipped a pass over to Krista Lopez on the right flank, who shot low from about 15 yards before Gaul came away with her third save of the game.

Gaul turned away another solid opportunity from OSU's Megan Marchesano, a driving low kick from more than 10 yards away that Gaul was able to grab.

About a minute later UT had a chance, but Hannah Higgins collided with Oklahoma State players in the penalty box with no foul called.

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