Soccer needs to step up


Zachary Strain

Midfielder Kristin Cummins fights for the ball during Texas’ 3-0 loss to Virginia last month. The Longhorns have struggled to put points on the board and are riding a four-game losing streak.

Wes Maulsby

At Texas, winning is the standard. Excellence is expected, and this manifests itself in athletics where the Longhorns are expected to vie for championships year in and year out. With this winning tradition in mind, this rough portion of the Texas season is disappointing. Being dead last in the conference doesn’t cut it at Texas. If Texas plans to pull its season off life support, then it will have to sure up the defense and work efficiently on offense.

Texas rides a four-game losing streak into the final weekend before conference play starts, and the stats that stand out are goals. In the past three games, Texas has been outscored 11-1. Careful observation reveals it is impossible to win without scoring. So far this season, opponents have outscored the Longhorns 15-8, with a pair of three-goal games against Dayton and Toledo. Without those two games, Texas’ goal record in seven games stands at 13-2. The simple fact is that if Texas cannot score, then its losing streak will continue. Until it is able to get good opportunities and put shots on target, this will be a long season for Texas.

It’s not all doom and gloom for the Longhorns, though. In five of its eight games this season, Texas has outshot its opponent. Only Virginia, BYU and Utah managed to get off more shots than Texas. But despite its shot production, Texas still needs to finish. Texas outshot Arkansas and North Carolina State 29-15 in two games earlier this season but lost each contest 1-0. Texas has the capability to put together possessions on offense. It just needs to translate those opportunities into goals.

In goal for Texas, Ava Vogel has 30 saves this season, including eight saves each against BYU and Virginia. While she has saved many shots for Texas, the sheer volume of shots put on by Texas opponents is too much. BYU dominated much of the game with 30 shots and 11 corner kicks. The BYU offense was aggressive and efficient against Texas. It’s the kind of performance that Texas has not been able to put together on offense. Texas outshot Arkansas by 10, 19-9, and got 14 corner kicks to just two for Arkansas. Despite the pressure from the offense, Texas was unable to put a ball in the back of the net. While Arkansas was able to capitalize on its limited chances.

Additionally, Texas has shown that it is able to play a little defense too. In five matches this season, Texas has been able to shut out the opponent for at least the first half, but have often been unable to maintain that defense throughout the game. Notably, BYU was shutout for the first half by the Longhorns, but came out with a five-goal second half to take the win.

Texas now finds itself last in the conference standings with two games left before Big 12 play starts. With Missouri and Texas A&M leaving, the conference is a little down. Oklahoma State is the only team ranked in the Big 12, though five teams boast at least five wins. Texas’ first two opponents are on the road against Iowa State and Oklahoma, two mid-level teams in the Big 12, before taking on Oklahoma State in Austin. In order for Texas to turn this season around, it will have to take advantage of a weakened Big 12 and get a few breaks and upsets along the way.