The Oklahoma Sooners swept the Texas Longhorns on Thursday to earn their fourth-straight Women's College World Series championship.

It’s the first time any team has won four straight championships in NCAA softball history.

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Oklahoma pitcher Kelly Maxwell was named 2024 WCWS Most Outstanding Player after the team's 8-4 win sealed the deal for the Sooners.

"They've cemented this program in history," said coach Patty Gasso after the game, whose eight national titles ties Arizona's Mike Candrea for the most won by any coach in Division I softball history. "They've cemented themselves in history. History can change, but these guys will never, ever be forgotten."

The Sooners were dealt some pressure along the way, with their 20-game NCAA tournament winning streak snapped by Florida earlier in the week. There were no guarantees about Texas, either, with the Longhorns topping Oklahoma in their regular season series earlier this year. 

Gasso even conceded that this has been the team’s hardest title win yet, even though the Sooners outscored Texas 16-7 over two games in the finals. The title is Oklahoma's eighth championship overall, as well as their sixth in the past eight postseasons.

"'Heavy is a head that wears the crown' is the one thing that really stuck out," Gasso said. "I heard someone say that. That really has felt true. It's been exhausting. These players are exhausted, but they keep going."

Oklahoma is on the brink of a four-peat at the Women’s College World Series after taking Game 1 over Texas of the championship series 8-3. 

Should the Sooners win, they earn an eighth-overall and fourth-straight WCWS title. No other team has won four consecutive NCAA softball championships. 

"This is it," Sooners pitcher Kelly Maxwell, who transferred in this season from Oklahoma State, said of being on the brink. "This is my last opportunity. I'm just going to do everything I can to keep this team in it. I know that they have my back and I got theirs."

While Oklahoma has dominated throughout the regular season, they did face an unexpected setback courtesy of a red-hot Florida team. In Monday’s Game 11, the No. 6-seeded Gators snapped the Sooners’ 20-game NCAA tournament win streak, forcing Tuesday’s winner-take-all Game 12 with a convincing 9-3 win. Florida’s victory was fueled by two monster home runs from infielder Skylar Wallace alongside Keagan Rothrock’s ace pitching.

Despite the upset, a recomposed Oklahoma took the field the following day for a tight eight-inning clash culminating in a walk-off blast from Jayda Coleman that sent the Sooners to WCWS final.

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But head coach Patty Gasso knows there’s still work to be done in the WCWS.

"We're not over-jubilant because we know there's still a lot of work to do against a very, very good team that has very good pitchers, very good hitters," Gasso said. "We know what's in front of us still. So you don't see us celebrating."

Texas, meanwhile, entered the postseason as the No. 1 overall seed. And the Longhorns are not about to roll over: In their Super Regional against Texas A&M, they lost the first game before winning the next two to advance. 

Earlier this season, they lost the first game of their series to Oklahoma before rebounding to take their first series over the Sooners since 2009.

"Now it's theirs to lose in some respect," Texas coach Mike White said of the Sooners. "They have to win one of the next two games. I like being in that position, sometimes being the underdog. We're the top dog for a little bit, so to speak, but were we? They're three-time national champions. It's a mind game. 

"Champions reframe. How can we reframe from this loss, what we're facing right now, come out and have a better game and see if we can play some good softball."

Game 2 of the WCWS Championship Series starts at 8 PM ET on Thursday, June 6th and will be broadcast live on ESPN. Game 3, if necessary, will air on ESPN on Friday, June 7th starting at 8 PM ET.

The Women's College World Series began on Thursday, as eight teams vie for the 2024 NCAA championship title.

UCLA, Oklahoma, Texas, and Florida have already moved on to the winners' bracket, emerging from Thursday's first round victorious. Meanwhile Alabama, Duke, Stanford, and Oklahoma State will face elimination tonight after all suffering first-round losses.

Texas and Oklahoma enter the final week of the postseason as top seeds, with the Longhorns winning the regular season and the Sooners taking the Big 12 Tournament Championship. Oklahoma is currently eyeing their fourth-straight title, having won every NCAA softball championship since the suspended season in 2020.

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Despite an excellent regular season, Texas is still on the hunt for its first softball championship. And in yesterday's decisive win 4-0 over Stanford, Texas freshman Teagan Kavan became the first freshman in college history to throw a complete game shutout. 

"I knew I was prepared and had been in front of a big stage before," Kavan said of her performance on Thursday.

The Blue Devils are also making NCAA history this week. Duke's Marissa Young — the first Black head coach in WCWS history — will lead the Blue Devils to their first visit to the final round of the softball playoffs Friday as they face off against Alabama.

Thursday’s session brought in 12,566 fans — a new session attendance record for the WCWS. All games will be broadcast live across ABC and ESPN networks.

Don't miss a moment of the action:

Game 5: Alabama vs. Duke — Friday, May 31st at 7 PM ET on ESPN2
Game 6: Stanford vs. Oklahoma State — Friday, May 31st at 9:30 PM ET on ESPN2
Game 7: UCLA vs. Oklahoma — Saturday, June 1st at 3 PM ET on ABC
Game 8: Texas vs. Florida — Saturday, June 1st at 7 PM ET on ESPN

Carrying the fate of the Canadian women’s national soccer team on her shoulders, 20-year-old Julia Grosso made the long walk across the pitch and into the 18-yard box for the last penalty kick of the Tokyo Olympic final in August.

With Canada and Sweden deadlocked 2-2 in the shootout, Grosso set the ball down on the penalty spot with the chance to send Canada to a historic title. The midfielder later admitted she was pretending it was merely a training session.

Four-and-a-half million Canadians held their breath as Grosso released a long exhale from the top of the box and stared at the spot. Barely a second later, she charged at the ball and struck it low and hard with her left foot.

Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl got her fingertips on it before deflecting the ball into the top corner of the net.

Olympic Gold. Canada’s first ever in women’s soccer.

And now, Grosso is a household name.

The heroic goal concluded a revolutionary chapter in Grosso’s soccer career, one that head coach Bev Priestman is eager to see her build on as Canada heads into its Celebration Tour starting Oct. 23.

“Julia, for me, is the player over the past six months I’ve seen the most growth in,” Priestman said Monday.

At the 2021 SheBelieves Cup in February, Grosso didn’t see the pitch during the three-game tournament. It was a difficult decision for Priestman, who had coached Grosso on the U-17 and U-20 national teams from 2016 to 2018 and knew what the young star was capable of.

Five months later, the Vancouver native showed up to Tokyo more ready than ever for her Olympic debut. Through Canada’s six unbeaten matches on the path to gold, the center midfielder showed improvements in her passing, her ability to play forward and her level of physicality.

“She went away, she worked hard, she turned over to the Olympics ready, and was a pivotal player in the whole Olympic campaign,” Priestman said.

“To go and do what she did speaks massive amounts for her character. So, if she continues with that mindset, she’s got a great future.”

Grosso’s defense has also improved, making her case to share the holding midfield position with Desiree Scott even stronger.

Scott, a 34-year-old veteran, was one to take Grosso under her wing after Grosso debuted with the senior team in 2017.

“She’s really building that confidence, really settling into what the squad is, what it looks like, what our tactics are, and really developing that soccer brain and bringing her individual identity through it all,” Scott said.

Grosso, who was also on Canada’s roster for the 2019 World Cup, wasn’t a part of the regular starting lineup in Tokyo, but the team fed off of her energy every time she subbed in.

“I think Julia now has to establish herself as a starter for Canada, and that’s the challenge I’d set her,” Priestman said.

Another task for Grosso is figuring out what her plans are after college. The Texas senior ranks fifth in Big 12 points this season with three goals and two assists.

Grosso hasn’t announced anything yet, but Priestman says she’s been on the phone with “many, many” people inquiring about her. Grosso is one of two players on Canada’s gold-medal winning squad still playing college soccer, with the other being defender Jayde Riviere.

After the summer Grosso has had, it’s fair to think this is only the beginning of a long and prosperous career for her on the professional and international stage. Canada’s two exhibition games against New Zealand on Saturday, Oct. 23 and Tuesday, Oct. 26 will serve as another proving ground.

Jessa Braun is an editorial intern for Just Women’s Sports. She is also the Head of North American Content for the Women’s Sports Alliance. You can find her on Twitter @jessabraun.