Keith, Birkhold net key strikes in two victories

Jon Parrett

Texas (10-3-3, 3-2-2 Big 12) came away with two conference wins on the road this weekend, following up a 1-0 win over Missouri 1-0 on Friday with a 2-1 win at Iowa State on Sunday. Texas has now won three conference games in a row and has jumped up to fifth in the conference standings.

“We needed those [games], and I think more than anything we were really mentally tough, especially today,” said Texas head coach Chris Petrucelli after the win at Iowa State. “We were able to gut it out.”

Junior midfielder Lucy Keith scored in the 84th minute to give the Longhorns the lead over the Cyclones, after heading in a cross from junior midfielder Kylie Doniak. Doniak sent the ball into the box off a free kick from the corner.

Doniak assisted on all three of the Longhorns’ goals this weekend. The three assists move her total in the season to nine, tying for sixth in Texas’ single-season record book.

“Kylie gives us a chance off of her service, and she certainly does a good job at winning the ball and getting her foot on [the ball] in the box,” Petrucelli said.

Midfielder Amanda Lisberger added the other goal for the Longhorns, who have only outscored Big 12 opponents 5-4 this season.

On Friday, Texas posted its seventh shutout of the year against a tough Missouri team. Goalkeeper Alexa Gaul posted three saves en route to her third straight shutout, and she now leads the conference with four. Freshman defender Nina Pedersen returned to the starting lineup after missing four games with an ankle injury and helped bolster a defense that only allowed four shots all game.

“The defense was great, and certainly adding Nina helps us,” Petrucelli said. “We’re really excited that we’re defending so well.”

With Pedersen back in the lineup at middle back, senior Erica Campanelli returns to her natural position as the outside back, which helps the Longhorns’ offense push the ball up to their forwards. The two goals are the highest total Texas has scored in-conference this season.