Southern California native Kylie Doniak’s goal in the Longhorns’ win over fifth-ranked Oklahoma State on Friday achieved the Longhorns’ first season-long goal — a spot in the Big 12 tournament.
Although Doniak is excelling on the field, tied for the team lead in goals, her connection with her tight-knit family, including her father Dave who encouraged Kylie to get into soccer and coached her until she reached club level, has her feeling homesick.
“I miss home, since my whole family is there, and that’s hard,” Doniak said. “I also miss the weather and my friends. But I wouldn’t change where I went to school. I love that I’ll get to live in Austin for four years and I can always go back.”
Doniak has loved the experience of playing in Texas’ environment. Once she had the opportunity to play at Texas, she couldn’t pass it up.
“You play soccer your whole life thinking it’s a fun game and that is just something fun to do,” Doniak said. “Once it became a reality that I could go to school for soccer, though, that was huge for me, because I realized I’d get to do something I love while I go to school.”
Doniak is a corporate communication junior in the College of Communication and says that balancing school and soccer isn’t easy. Despite the struggle, she continues both.
Outside of the classroom, Doniak leads the Longhorns with a goal in each of the last two games, tied with sophomore Kristen Cummins for the most goals on the team. She also has the most assists on the team, with nine.
Doniak attributes the success to her faith in God.
“I have been praying a lot and turning to Him,” Doniak said. “Every time I step on that field, I play for Him. I think that has been my mindset. I work my hardest on that field, all in His name.”
Teammate Lucy Keith is thankful for the work that Doniak puts in and her contributions to the team.
“Kylie has a vision that a lot of girls don’t have,” Keith said. “She is just able to find people moving, and she has great service. She does a lot of our free kicks and is really key in helping us get our goals.”
Head coach Chris Petrucelli agrees on Doniak’s effectiveness on the team.
“She gives us a chance off of her service and certainly does a good job at winning the ball in the air and getting her foot on it in the box,” Petrucelli said. “She’s got a lot of qualities that have been really effective.”
Although Doniak scored her fifth goal of the season on Sunday night against Oklahoma, the team still fell in overtime.
“It’s a tough feeling,” Doniak said. “It’s obviously very frustrating and I’m still a little angry about it. We should have won, but I guess we will work harder this week and put it behind us. It’s still a little bit of a let down for us.”
While the Big 12 Tournament may be more focused on the present, Doniak keeps her future in mind trying to weigh her options.
“I would love to go professional,” she said. “It’s a lot of time, though, so I will see where I end up.”
But first, Doniak said she hopes to end up in the NCAA Tournament.