The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

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Crick’s First Season Goes Deep into SAC Tournament

After an intense win in the SAC Tournament Semifinals, Niall Crick hugs his wife and kids.

USAO women’s soccer team ended their season with a 14-6 record and a conference record of 7-2 in the Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC). The Drovers were a force to be reckoned with toward the end of the season, going into the SAC tournament finals with an eight-game win streak. After being an assistant coach for seven years, Niall Crick earned his spot as the women’s head coach this season.  

“We got off to a fantastic start with a huge win at home in our opening game and then came back right back with our biggest loss of the season in the second game, and that’s how the earliest parts of the season were. We would win a game, and we would go on a run of two or three wins, and we would lose a game. We could never quite get the consistency that we needed and so we had to work through what the lineup looked like, what the formation needed to be,” Crick said. “It was a learning process.” 

In the SAC tournament, USAO played Oklahoma City University (OCU) in the semifinals for the second time this season. Alicia Rey, senior midfield, scored a goal in second overtime, bringing the Drovers into their ninth consecutive SAC tournament championship game.  

The Drovers scored 59 goals and 47 assists as a team and USAO had six shutout games throughout the season. Ashlyn Lonberg, sophomore goalkeeper, and Caitlin Bishop, junior goalkeeper, totaled 59 saves throughout the season, Lonberg earning 31 and Bishop earning 28. 

The Drovers received many distinctions during the 2023 season. Six Drovers were named for either First- or Second-Team All-SAC. Laura Barrantes, senior midfield, Kylie Strotman, junior defense, and Rey were selected for First-Team All-SAC. Dagbjort Gudmunsdottir, freshman midfield, Luna Knoester, sophomore midfield, and Caitlin Worthington, junior defense, were selected for Second-Team All-SAC.  

Along with being selected for First-Team All-SAC, Rey was named as the SAC Offensive Player of the Year for a second year in a row. Rey was also named the SAC Offensive Player of the Week four times during the season. In her final season, Rey scored 25 goals and tallied 11 assists for a total of 61 points.  

“Ali is a senior and is somebody who has grown incredibly since her freshman year. I think she would probably admit that as a freshman, she had no idea what it took to be successful over here in the U.S. college system, and while she has always had the talent, she was not always able to put all that together,” Crick said. “In the last couple of years, I would certainly make a case that Ali is one of the best, if not the best, player in the entire country, and we’re proud that she’s finally getting the recognition that she deserves.” 

The Drovers will say farewell to four seniors this season, including Marissa Neil, Helem Morales, Barrantes, and Rey. As a senior midfielder, Barrantes scored five goals and had two assists. USAO saw several freshmen walk onto the field and make a difference for the team, including Ilse de Jong, Daniela Salinas, and Gudsmunsdottir. In midfield, de Jong scored four goals and had three assists. Salinas played as a forward, where she scored four goals and tallied three assists. Finally, Gudsmunsdottir earned five goals and seven assists from the midfield.  

The team will rally together again for their 2024-25 season starting in August of next year. 


Luka Messick is a first-year physics major at the Univeristy of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. 

Ray Thomas-Lapham
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About the Contributors
Luka Messick
Luka Messick, Contributing Writer
Luka is a first-year physics major from Tulsa. He loves music and spends most of his free time listening to music. Luka played the clarinet in high school and was part of his school's front ensemble for marching season and winter percussion season. Luka also plays video games with his friends. Since he has been on campus, Luka has joined SPS and PRISM.   Experience with The Trend: Contributing Writer: Sept. 2023 - present
Laura Barrios Bardi
Laura Barrios Bardi, Contributing Photographer
Laura is a fourth-year art major from El Paso, TX. Laura currently works for USAO's Sports Information Department as a photographer. She is also a member of USAO's track and field team. Her hobbies include stargazing, spending time with friends, and working towards elevating her photography skills.   Experience with The Trend: Contributing Photographer: Nov. 2022 - present