Increased offense has Horns ready to attack remaining schedule

Jacob Martella

In soccer, teams usually rely on one or two players to score the majority of the goals and carry the team to wins. But through 18 games this season for Texas, 12 different players have scored with 28 total goals. 

Seven players have scored multiple goals in an offense that head coach Angela Kelly said is hard for other teams to prepare for.

“I think it’s hard to defend this style,” Kelly said. “And it puts less pressure on us because no one has to carry the team.”

The Longhorns don’t have a player in the top ten in the conference in goals, but four players are tied for the team lead with four goals apiece. Sophomore midfielder and forward
Chantale Campbell said the team prefer this style because it makes it hard for opponents to shut them down.

“With having so many people be able to score, it makes it really difficult for other teams to stop us,” Campbell said.

Texas has also found its rhythm spreading the ball around, tallying the same number of assists as goals. Campbell is tied for fifth in the Big 12 with five assists, and three other Longhorns each have four. For her, having so many scorers to pass to creates more opportunities to attack the defense. 

“It’s easier when you have multiple people to pass it to and who can score as opposed to just one person who you’re always trying to look for,” Campbell said. “It makes your team a lot
more dangerous.”

The increased offensive presence has also impacted the defensive side for the Longhorns. A year after giving up 23 goals and 239 shots, Texas has held opponents to only 13 goals and 152 shots. Sophomore goal keeper Abby Smith said it’s helped ease the pressure for her and the rest of the back line.

“It’s relaxing when we can put a goal away and then be like, ‘We’re up one. Let’s get another one,’” Smith said. “It makes a huge difference.”

Scoring is just one of the many things improved for the Longhorns this season. Last year, Texas scored 24 goals and posted an 8-10-2 record. This season, the team has already tallied 11
 wins and only four losses and sits in second place in the Big 12 with one conference game remaining.

Kelly, who’s in her second year as head coach, said the difference is the players getting used to the style of play.

“We had the whole offseason to integrate our philosophy, and now we’re reaping the benefits of that,” Kelly said. “Everyone is buying in and is on the same page.”

Texas still has matches against Stephen F. Austin and Texas Tech before the Big 12 tournament and a potential NCAA tournament berth. Kelly said the key to continuing the offensive success will be players stepping up.

“We just need to find our best game and bring it,” Kelly said. “We have to take advantage of our opportunities.”