Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

September 7, 2012

Bedlam rivals set for soccer matchup

STILLWATER — Coming off an emotional road win late Sunday night in Memphis, the third-ranked Oklahoma State women’s soccer team turns their attention toward another game that is likely to test their will once again — Bedlam.

The Cowgirls travel to Norman Friday night for a the first of a home-and-home against rival Oklahoma, with the series opener not counting in the Big 12 Conference standings.

“We talked about it (Tuesday) and the rivalry and how much it means to a lot of people around here,” OSU coach Colin Carmichael said. “But at the same time, it goes down as just another soccer game. So our main focus is — whether its OU or Texas or whoever we may be playing — we have another tough game and we’ve got to be ready to play it.”

While OSU is ranked third in the country and hold a 6-0-0 record, the Bedlam rival forces all the stats to be thrown out the window. And with a young group at the core of the Cowgirls squad, it is likely to be a demanding game.

“It’s going to be a tough game all around. It doesn’t matter who’s ranked what, it’s Bedlam,” freshman Madison Mercado said. “Everybody is going to come out hard and we’ve got to have our minds ready for that.”

Several of the freshmen Cowgirls are from Oklahoma, including Mercado. So they already have an understanding that the rivalry between the two universities goes beyond just any one sport.

“I’m excited. I love games like that — where its an intense, rivalry. That’s what we play the game for,” Mercado said. “... It’s the biggest rivalry in Oklahoma, for any sport. Any time Bedlam goes on, it’s a huge game. I’ve been going to my sister’s the past four years, and every game is intense. And watching them, I just couldn’t wait for my turn.”

While the freshman class will get its first taste of the Bedlam battle, for the small group of seniors, Friday begins the last season series they will face their bitter rivals.

“I don’t think it will ever really end. Once you are at OSU, you basically bleed orange,” senior Megan Marchesano said. “So even after graduating, it’s one of those that I’ll still be rooting against OU in just about any sport at any point in time.

“So while it could be one of the last times I play them in soccer, we’re still going to be playing them in all other sports. And I will definitely be cheering against them whichever sport.”

It will be those seniors that will try to convey to the freshmen what to expect come Friday night in a game which will be televised on FSN (Suddenlink channel 37).

“I think the most important thing is that they have confidence. We can give them some confidence to go out and succeed,” Marchesano said.

One of the things helping the team is how Carmichael and his coaching staff approaches the Bedlam game.

“Every time we’ve played OU — and we’ve played them a lot recently — we haven’t talked too much about the history, we’ve just talked about how we have a big game against our rival,” Carmichael said. “So we’ve just got to focus on that.

“They are a different team from last year, we’re a different team from last year. Certainly, we’ve had success against them over the years, but most of those players are gone and each game is different against those guys and it always throws up something different in every sport.”

Jason Elmquist is sports editor for The Stillwater NewsPress.

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