ORU opens season at home against Pac-12 member Utah
TULSA, Okla. – For the first time in 21 years, the Oral Roberts University women’s soccer team will face a Pac-12 opponent as the Golden Eagles host Utah on Friday at the Case Soccer Complex. Kickoff is set for approximately 8 p.m.
ORU begins its return tour in the Summit League after two successful seasons in the Southland Conference. Last season, the Golden Eagles (15-4-1) recorded a school record for victories and finished one point behind regular season SLC champions Stephen F. Austin in the standings.
ORU completed the season on a six-match unbeaten streak, with the season coming to an end in a shootout following a 1-1 draw against Southeastern Louisiana in the Southland tournament.
The Golden Eagles were picked to finish fourth in the Summit League by the league’s coaches.
With five College Sports Madness Preseason All-Summit League team honorees, ORU has high expectations heading into the season. Honored by CSM with preseason mentions was Kayla Keller and Kaily Cox on the first team, and Megan Giles, Ashley Martin and Maddie Rhodes received second team nods.
The Golden Eagles were successful in their preseason match last Saturday at Central Arkansas as they topped the Bears, 4-0. Senior Kayla Nsien had a big day with a pair of goals, both assisted by Giles, with Keller and freshman Amanda Dial adding back-to-back goals in the 37th and 38th minutes.
Utah enters the season picked seventh in the Pac-12, following a season in which the Utes finished 10-5-6 overall and third in the conference with a 6-3-2 record. The Utes received a bid in the 2013 NCAA Division I Women’s College Cup, falling in the first round of the tournament at Texas A&M 2-1 in overtime.
The Utes return their leading offensive threat from 2013, Katie Taylor. The senior netted five goals and earned three assists. Senior forward Ashton Hall finished second on the team in points behind Taylor, scoring three goals and adding five assists.
Lindsey Luke leads the Utah defense from between the posts after setting a team record with nine shutouts last season, as well as pulling in the third most saves in the conference with 92. For her work, she was named the NSCAA All-Pacific Regional Second Team goalkeeper.
The Utah defense only allowed 16 goals last season, third-fewest in the Pac-12.
Friday’s match against Utah will mark the first time and ORU team has faced a Pac-12 opponent since the Golden Eagles hosted Oregon State in their inaugural season on 1993.