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CHICKASHA – Two weeks before classes begin, USAO soccer players stepped foot on campus and have been focusing on fitness and tactical work in daily workouts to prepare for the big opening of the 2012 season.

“The kids have worked very hard for the last 10 or 12 days, and we’ll continue to work hard,” Head Coach Jimmy Hampton said. “The kids are excited to be here and they have a good attitude.”

Hampton said the...

Image: Taylor Fain in game last season

CHICKASHA – The question on each coach’s and player’s mind is a simple one: Will we compete for a national title?

The potential is there, head coach Jimmy Hampton said. While the Drovers lost some talented players due to graduation, the women have several new players, eight of which could start immediately.

“The women have been working tactically so as we are fairly fit and ready to compete,” Hampton said. “We will...

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CHICKASHA – After a first conference title and national tournament appearance in 2011, the Drover women start this season ranked nationally, coming in 24th in the NAIA 2012 Women’s Soccer Coaches’ Preseason Poll, which was released Tuesday.

USAO is one of two Sooner Athletic Conference teams to appear in the Top 25, with Oklahoma City in the No. 11 spot. The Drovers came in second to OCU in the SAC Preseason Poll.

Women celebrate

CHICKASHA – The Drover women have proven to be conference contenders, sitting a second in the Sooner Athletic Conference preseason polls.

After winning the conference tournament last year for the first time, this is the highest the Drover women have appeared in the SAC preseason poll, which is voted on by conference coaches.

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The In the Saddle crew bring on a very special guest in a short In the Saddle promo to show you what to expect out of Drover athletics this season! Meet Dusty the Drover and hear inside his head on this special show!

In the Saddle will begin its fall shows on Aug. 23 with Coach Jimmy Hampton with USAO Soccer.

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CHICKASHA – Richard Nixon was President of the United States. The Vietnam War was winding to a close. The Price is Right began challenging viewers name the price of regular household items. And Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” topped the charts.

It was 1972, and the Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts began entertaining Chickasha as college athletics found its way to the community.

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CHICKASHA – For the 10th year in row, USAO soccer coaches are opening the university’s campus to a residential soccer camp designed to enhance individual and team soccer skills in a concentrated setting.

This year, the camp will focus more on high school athletes and teams. Past campers have gone on to compete in the NCAA and NAIA levels and earn national honors.

The camp will run from July 16-18 and includes training...

CHICKASHA – A pair of USAO soccer players earned USAO’s highest student athlete honor as they were named the 2012 recipients of the Bill and Pat Smith Scholar Athlete Award.

Niall Crick and Annie Zoch earned the honor because of strong performances in the classroom and on the field and their involvement in the university. The Bill and Pat Smith Scholar Athlete Award goes out to one male and one female USAO athlete each year....

CHICKASHA – Reflecting back on a record-breaking season from both the men’s and women’s teams, Assistant Coach Alexis Vizarelis gives credit to the players and the rest of the coaching staff.

“Unbelievable. If you’d asked me at the start of the year if we would have had a season we did, it would have been hard pushed to say we would have on,” he said. “I think that they showed what we’re capable, what we demand from them every year...

CHICKASHA – For the first time in school history, both USAO soccer teams rank in the final Top 25 poll.

The men top out at eighth, seven spots higher than they started the season.

The final ranking comes to the program after a repeat NAIA Quarterfinal appearance in the National Tournament. The Drovers were downed by top-seeded Hastings College.

The men end the season 18-5, topping the record books with most...