Soccer falls short in final stretch, misses NCAA tournament

Brittany Lamas

Throughout its regular season, Texas soccer surpassed its mediocre results from 2012 and showed it was capable of winning close matches. Except when it mattered most. 

The Longhorns’ season came down to two games: Texas Tech in the regular season finale and Oklahoma State in the Big 12 tournament. But when Texas needed it, they could not win, cutting their postseason shorter than their potential lended.

Texas held a perfect record at home and managed an overall winning percentage of .650 and .688 in conference play but was knocked out in the first round of the Big 12 tournament. And when the NCAA tournament field was revealed, Texas fell short for the second year straight. 

In the heart of the conference schedule, the Longhorns built a win streak, proving they could be a contender for a Big 12 title. The team secured four wins in a row, each by at least two goals before losing to West Virginia, a team which has yet to lose a single regular season conference game since joining the Big 12. 

Aside from the West Virginia loss and a tie against Oklahoma State, Texas’ only other defeat in conference was a 1-0 loss in the regular-season finale to the Red Raiders. 

The loss dropped the Longhorns to the third seed, which proved to be costly. They had to play the Cowgirls, who, despite their meager two conference wins, gave Texas trouble earlier in the season. 

But, as the Longhorns showed in Kansas, Mo., ranking does not mean much in the postseason. 

After giving up a 20th-minute goal, sophomore midfielder Chantale Campbell got her head on a ball crossed in from freshman forward Jasmine Hart three minutes later to equalize. Oklahoma State’s Courtney Dike put the game and the Longhorns’ postseason hopes away in the second half on a long shot from the 18-yard box. 

With two losses in a row and an early exit in the conference tournament, Texas fell short of the NCAA tournament, failing to get one of 33 at-large bids.

Before its late-season tumble, Texas ranked as high as 34. Afterward, it ranked 44. 

Had the Longhorns managed to win at least one of their last two games, they would likely be preparing for a first-round matchup this weekend. Instead, they choked when expectations were high, and they will have to wait until next season to prove their strengths.