Longhorns need to kick into gear away from home

Jon Parrett

While many of you were using the football team’s bye week to soak in the sun and music in Zilker Park, one group of Longhorns did bypass the hippie-laden field for one painted in burnt orange. Texas women’s soccer netted its much-needed first conference win of the season, beating Baylor 1-0 on Sunday. Texas has beaten No. 8 BYU, UW-Milwaukee and William & Mary this year, but the win over the Bears on Sunday was its biggest win of the season.

“Every game we play in the league is a big game,” head coach Chris Petrucelli said after the win. “There’s three points on the line every game and you want to get the points every chance you can get.”

Points are exactly what the Longhorns need. Halfway through conference play, Texas’ 1-2-2 record has them sitting in ninth place with five points- one spot out of making the Big 12 tournament. Even though Texas is 10 points from Oklahoma State’s league-leading 15, the parity of the Big 12 has left the Longhorns only four points from fourth place.

“I think it shows how competitive the Big 12 is,” said senior captain Erica Campanelli. “We had a great preseason, but we’ve struggled a bit in-season. We’ve just got to stay positive with the points we get.”

The Longhorns are 6-0-2 at home this season, but need to find a way to win on the road. Texas sufferred their worst loss of the season two weeks ago on the road, falling 1-0 to Kansas in Lawrence. The Jayhawks are last in the Big 12 with a 1-5 record. This weekend’s matchups against Missouri and Iowa State are the Longhorns’ last opportunities to do so before finishing up at home against Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Texas A&M.

“Certainly we’ve played better at home, and over the years that’s been true,” Petrucelli said. “The league is pretty consistent with teams winning their home games, so it’s not just with us.”

The fact that the Longhorns’ last three games are at home has to give them some comfort, but playing at Mike A. Myers Stadium doesn’t guarantee a Texas win — the Longhorns battled a beatable Texas Tech team to a 0-0 tie at home last Friday.

Texas has shown they can play with the elite teams and match up against the elite scorers, but now they need to show they can beat them.