Wildcat soccer ready for Big 12 opener against No. 15 Oklahoma State

K-State midfielder Laramie Hall works the ball in the soccer game against Missouri State at the K-State Soccer Complex on Sept 14, 2018. The Wildcats fell to the Bears 1-0. (Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State soccer team will host the No.15 Oklahoma State Cowgirls on Friday evening to begin Big 12 conference play.

Both teams will come into Friday’s match confident after respective wins. K-State (4-3-2) is coming off a 3-0 win against Tulsa on Sunday, while Oklahoma State (8-1-0), the defending Big 12 champion, is currently riding a five-match winning streak coming off a 2-1 win against UMKC on Sunday.

This is the second match this year against a ranked opponent for the Wildcats, as they traveled to then-ranked No. 9 Santa Clara in late August. The Wildcats lost that match 0-2, giving them their first loss of the year.

The Wildcats have played relatively well at home this year, holding a 3-2 home record. However, the Cowgirls have been excellent on the road this year with a 3-1 road record, and that one road loss is their only loss of the year.

Ahead of the Big 12 opener, head coach Mike Dibbini says his team is going into this match with a “nothing to lose mentality.”

“We know that on paper we’re the underdogs,” Dibbini said. “However, we are a lot more hopeful based on the experience we’ve gained the last couple of years and especially what we were able to do against both Santa Clara and Indiana this year, gives us a lot more hope going into this match.”

K-State is 0-4 in program history against ranked opponents. Dibbini said Wednesday that getting that first win against a ranked opponent will be bulletin board material for his team heading into Friday.

Even though the Wildcats are underdogs against the Cowgirls, Dibbini says his team seems to “measure up” as the underdog.

“It seems like whenever we play a team that we feel that we are slightly the underdog, we come to perform,” Dibbini said. “The urgency and the mentality is ready to go.”

Dibbini said he expects his team to “compete and give themselves a chance” on Friday night.

The match on Friday is K-State soccer’s first ever Diversity and Inclusion match. K-State Athletics will be giving out a wristband to the first 200 fans in attendance.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at the K-State Soccer Complex. The match will air on ESPN 3 and can be heard on 101.5 KROCK.