Cummins leads Texas into first round of NCAA tourney

Sara Beth Purdy

Last season the Longhorns finished on a sour note.

Despite a strong performance by current senior Kylie Doniak that resulted in the Longhorns’ only score, they fell 3-1 to James Madison in the first round of last seasons’ NCAA Tournament. This year, they face off against the University of South Carolina Gamecocks at Stone Stadium in Colombia, S.C. The Longhorns will take the field at 6 p.m. this evening, itching to erase last year’s early exit.

Texas enters today’s matchup with a season record of 11-8-1 and a Big 12 Conference record of 3-4-1. After upsetting Texas Tech in the first round of the Big 12 Conference Tournament this past weekend, the Longhorns were sent home in the second round after a double-overtime loss to second-ranked Oklahoma State 1-0.

At the conclusion of the tournament, junior midfielder Kristin Cummins was the only Longhorn named to the Big 12 Tournament team. Against Texas Tech, Cummins scored the Longhorn’s lone goal and secured a spot against Oklahoma State in the semifinal round. Cummins’s goal was the only goal scored by the Longhorns during the tournament.

The Longhorns have been seeded against 22nd-ranked South Carolina and will meet them for the first time in school history. The Gamecocks are 15-6 on the season and 9-2 in SEC Conference play.

Texas holds an all-time record of 18-7-4 over teams in the SEC. This season, they defeated Georgia 3-0 on the road. In what might seem like a good omen for the Longhorns, the Bulldogs turned around and beat the Gamecocks in double-overtime later in the season.

With the exception of the 2009 season, the Longhorns have been invited to the NCAA Tournament each season since 2001. This appearance marks their 10th appearance in 11 years. After a spell from 2001-2003 where the Longhorns fell in the first round of the tournament, Texas holds a 4-2 record in first-round matches.