Unlike the Oklahoma State American football team, the Cowgirl soccer squad is not in a "rebuilding" year. Returning ten starters from last season, the Oklahoma State side is eyeing a Big 12 title. Oklahoma State accomplished a 7-4-6 record last season, and made a run to the Big 12 Tournament Finals to notch a spot in the NCAA Tournament. The Pokes hosted Arkansas in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, but the Hogs ended OSU's season with a 2-1 defeat.
The Cowgirls' leading scorer, Courtney Dike, will return to hopefully help lead the Cowgirls to a deeper run in the NCAA Tourney this season. As a freshman, Dike scored thirteen goals. The fourth-most in OSU history. She not only earned All-Big 12 Second Team honors, but also a spot on the All-Newcomer team after an impressive first season.
Courtney will be along side fellow All-Big 12 honorees, Allie Stephenson and Natalie Calhoun. Stephenson and Calhoun were also members of the All-Big 12 second team, as well as members of the Big 12 Championship All-Tournament Team.
The Cowgirls have a lot of promise, but if they are to build off of last year's success they have a long road in front of them. They play one of toughest schedules in the nation this season, including matches against five NCAA tournament teams from last season.
The 2014 campaign begins Aug. 22 with a Bedlam match-up against interstate rival Oklahoma in a non-conference bout. The Cowgirls currently hold the bragging rights as they swept the Sooners last year to claim the series.
Two days after Bedlam the Pokes travel to Arkansas for a chance at revenge for last year's upset loss to the Razorbacks in the NCAA Tournament. The Cowgirls come home Aug. 29 to play last year's NCAA runner-up, Florida State. The Pokes will also host Florida the same weekend.
The gauntlet continues into Big 12 play when the Cowgirls face Iowa State at home to open up conference play. OSU will also host Oklahoma later in conference play for round 2 of Bedlam. Big 12 Tournament play will begin Nov. 5, where Ok State will look to knock off two-time defending champions, West Virginia.
Cowgirl Head Coach Colin Carmichael spoke with the media Wednesday after the team's first practice.