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Oklahoma City University women snag league titles in soccer, volleyball

The women’s soccer squad from Oklahoma City University is pictured here moments after a dramatic 3-2 victory over John Brown University of Arkansas. The Lady Stars won the 2010 Sooner Athletic Conference title and head into the NAIA title competition this weekend. Photo provided.
During OCU’s women’s volleyball last weekend, Xiaoting Ma led the Lady Stars to defeat Wayland Baptist (Texas) in the SAC volleyball title match. Consequently, the squad will take significant momentum into the NAIA championship competition beginning Nov. 20. Photo provided

Oklahoma City University women swept to Sooner Athletic Conference titles in soccer and volleyball, and are well-represented on SAC all-star squads announced in recent days.

The soccer team edged John Brown University of Arkansas 3-2 in the SAC title contest at Stars Field on Saturday. The Lady Stars are 19-2, and remain undefeated in NAIA competition this season. They will begin national title competition on Nov. 20.

“It was a total team effort, and I really think everybody contributed tonight,” OCU coach Brian Harvey. “John Brown came at us and scored two goals. We answered with Alex Miley, the captain, playing the captain’s role and getting the winning goal for us.”

Meghan McMahon scored the two earlier goals for the team, assisted both times by Malin Andersson.

Earlier last week, the women endured gusty winds and managed a dramatic 1-0 double-overtime win over Southern Nazarene in the semi-finals of the SAC tournament.

The sole goal and game-winner came from Sheridan Horner, a sophomore from Choctaw, after 104 minutes of grueling play.

Sheridan got the ball on the right side of the box from the pass of Rachael O’Brien, a Plano, Texas, sophomore.

In comments provided to The City Sentinel after the semis match, Horner reflected: “Left foot, back post, and it went in. At first, I thought it was just like a regular goal and we would keep playing, but then everyone was screaming behind me and I realized the game was over. It was so exciting!”

In that semi-final, Stars goalkeeper Brittany Tibbs, the senior Goalkeeper from Kansas City, made a dramatic “fingertips” save in overtime and that saved the match win. She had five saves and her 10th shutout of the year.

“I thought throughout the game we created some quality chances and we didn’t really put our chances away when we had opportunities,” Coach Harvey said. “SNU had a very good opportunity in sudden-death overtime and Tibbsy comes off with the big save. This was a very good test against a very good Southern Nazarene team.”

Unsurprisingly, the Lady Stars are a dominant presence on this year’s All-SAC team.

Coach Harvey is co-coach of the year, while Brenna Skillern was the top defensive player, Blerta Rashica the best newcomer, and Tibbs the goalkeeper of the year.

Defender Josefine Holmgren and forward Andersson garnered first-team honors along with Skillern, Rashica and Tibbs.

Meghan McMahon was on the second team All–SAC.

In other OCU athletic news, Xiaoting Ma was named Sooner Athletic Conference volleyball most valuable player, and hitter of the year. Ma and teammate Alex Benbrook made the SAC first team. Vicky Murphy and Raissa Santos earned honorable-mention selections.

This year, Ma was SAC player of the week four times, and NAIA player of the week for Oct. 18-24.

Then, on Saturday, Ma led the Lady Stars to victory over Wayland Baptist (Texas) in the SAC volleyball title match. Scores were 14-25, 25-23, 25-21and 25-21. Consequently, Ma, Benbrook, Murphy, Santos and the rest of the squad will roar into the NAIA championship competition beginning November 20.

Ma continued to add to her accolades, being named the most valuable player in NAIA tourney. Benbrook joined her on the all-tournament squad.

According to a press release from OCU sports information, “OCU restarted its volleyball program in 2006. The Stars advanced to the SAC Tournament championship match in 2007 and the NAIA Region VI Tournament in 2006 and 2007. The Stars came up with the breakthrough win Saturday.”

“We’ve made history,” OCU coach Jen Gomez said. “Nobody will ever take that away from them. That’s a special deal.”

Danielle Robison, Samantha Ball, Taylor Rowton each contributed to the final victory.

Benbrook made the all-tournament team along with Ma.

“I’m proud of the intensity we had,” Gomez said. “We were up and down. Taylor came up big on the right side with some blocks. … It was a total team effort.”

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