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Freshmen boost Oklahoma State, sigh of relief at Texas
by Paul Kennedy, August 29th, 2012 4:18PM
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[TRENDING NOW: Big 12] The Big 12 is a misnomer as far as women's soccer goes.

Kansas State has never sponsored soccer, and Colorado and Nebraska left for the Pac-12 and Big Ten, respectively, leaving the Big 12 with nine teams for soccer in 2011.

Missouri and Texas A&M followed suit in the offseason, joining the SEC. But the arrival of West Virginia and TCU keeps the Big 12 at nine for 2012.

Oklahoma State (4-0-0) is ranked No. 3 in the country, and West Virginia is No. 24 after ending national champion Stanford's 25-game winning streak. All nine teams won games over the weekend, and none is below .500 after two weeks.

MERCADO STAYS CLOSER TO HOME. Madison Mercado, sister of former Oklahoma State Melinda Mercado, scored two goals in the No. 3 Cowgirls' 4-1 win over Creighton on Sunday.

Madison is one of four freshman along with Allie Stephenson, Kelsey Bass and Makenzie Kahan earning a spot in the starting lineup in the Cowgirls' first four games. Freshmen have combined for four of OSU's nine goals and three of its five assists.

It wasn't always a foregone conclusion that Madison would follow her older sister to Stillwater from Sapulpa, a Tulsa suburb. “I was heart-set on going somewhere in Texas,” she said after signing with the Cowgirls. “I wanted to get out of the state, but I think as I got older and I started doing camps … going away for weeks at a time, it made me realize I wanted to stay closer.”

SIGH OF RELIEF IN AUSTIN. Angela Kelly experienced her share of frustrations in her first two weeks at Texas.

The former Tennessee coach watched as the Longhorns outshot Arkansas (19-9) and N.C. State (10-6) but dropped back-to-back 1-0 decisions. Texas had a big edge in possession but couldn't find the finishing touch. That changed when the Longhorns beat Mid-American champion Toledo, 3-0, on Sunday.

"We have a substance to our attack. We have a foundation," Kelly said. "We created enough opportunities [against Arkansas and N.C. State], and to finally reap the rewards of that gives them a sigh of relief."

RED RAIDERS SHOW COMMITMENT. Texas Tech is off to a 4-0-0 start under Tom Stone, the former Duke star, getting a 1-0 win over Stephen F. Austin and 4-0 win over Montana at the TCU Invitational.

Junior Jessica Fuston matched her own school record with the third hat trick of her career against Montana.

"We have been all over the goal since game one but today we were a little more committed in the last 30 yards," Stone said after Sunday's win.

RUNNING THE TABLE. Baylor, Iowa State and Kansas are all 3-1-0 after picking up impressive wins on Friday.

An early own goal didn't stop Baylor from posting a 2-1 victory at Cal State Northridge. The difference was a pair of goals by Kat Ludlow and Dana Larsen off set pieces.

Iowa State defeated two-time defending Mountain West champion New Mexico, 1-0, thanks to Meredith Skitt's late goal, while Kansas earned an impressive 1-0 win over Georgia Friday thanks to Caroline Kastor's first-half goal.

VIDEO PICK. For more on West Virginia's upset win over Stanford, the welcome the Mountaineers received upon their return to Morgantown and goal scorer Frances Silva and frontline partner, Kate Schwindel ...



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