Longhorns look to upset No. 5 Mountaineers in Big 12 opener

Spencer Soicher

Scoring is something unranked Texas has struggled to do this season, and it’s not going to any get any easier Friday night as it faces No. 5 West Virginia in Morgantown.

The Longhorns’ matchup with West Virginia will be their first Big 12 match of the season.

The Mountaineers (9-1-0) have won eight consecutive matches, and their No. 5 ranking is the highest mark in program history.

West Virginia senior goalkeeper Hannah Steadman has not allowed a goal over the eight-game stretch and has faced only 11 shots on goal since West Virginia’s Aug. 23 loss to No. 13 Virginia Tech.

Texas, however, has struggled to score. The Longhorns finished in a 0-0 tie with Arkansas-Little Rock last Sunday, despite having numerous scoring opportunities. Despite these struggles, head coach Angela Kelly is still confident in her team’s ability to score.

“I’m not the least bit worried,” Kelly said. “You worry about not putting the ball in the back of the net if you’re also not creating opportunities.” 

The lack of scoring doesn’t frustrate Longhorn goalkeeper senior Abby Smith either. Sunday’s tie is the second time this year Smith has had a shutout but came out winless.

“It happens,” Smith said. “It’s part of the game.”

While the defensively sound Mountaineers appear to be a poor matchup for the low-scoring Longhorns, Kelly and her team believe in their ability to pull off the upset.

“You can use the negative verbiage, or you can have the opportunity to use the inverse, which is the positive,” Kelly said. “[I’m] the eternal optimist, so I’m not the least bit frustrated. I’m excited about the opportunity.”