Texas ekes out eighth-straight victory, finishes undefeated in nonconference play

Matthew Truty

Another overtime victory provided No. 21 Texas with its eighth-straight nonconference victory on Friday night, the second-straight game in which the Longhorns won past regulation. After a scoreless 90 minutes, the Longhorns found the net early in the overtime period, besting UT-Rio Grande Valley 1-0.

Despite coming in as underdogs, Rio Grande Valley held its own on the defensive end heading into Friday’s match, never allowing more than one goal per contest. And while the Longhorn attack excelled at putting the ball in the net against then-ranked Colorado and reigning Colonial Athletic Association champion Northeastern a week prior, the opposite was true against the Vaqueros.

Texas struggled to conjure up a goal in the first half, despite outshooting Rio Grande Valley 10–2. Slow starts were an issue for Texas head coach Angela Kelly’s squad last week against Northeastern, where the Longhorns fell down 1-0 before returning the favor with two goals in the opening 10 minutes of the second half.

“You have to be methodical, you have to be disciplined, you can’t allow yourself to get frustrated,” Kelly said. “The longer a team stays in it, then (bad) things can happen.”

The story of Friday’s second half was much of the same, with Texas controlling the pace, but Rio Grande resisting the waves of attacks.

Freshman midfielder and forward Haley Berg posed a major threat to the Vaquero defense throughout the course of the game, despite never delivering a goal directly.

“It gets frustrating obviously, for everyone,” Berg said. “But we know that if we just keep going, (a goal) is going to happen no matter what.”

Texas’ numerous scoring chances never translated into goals in regulation. Despite leading Rio Grande Valley in shots 28–5, both teams entered overtime scoreless. 

Friday’s overtime ending mirrored last week’s victory over Northeastern, except on this occasion, sophomore forward Cyera Hintzen finished the game. Hintzen’s left-footed strike from the right corner of the 18-yard box sealed the undefeated nonconference streak for Texas, giving the Longhorns a 1-0 victory.  

The burnt orange will next take the field on Aug. 22 as they take on Iowa State to begin conference play. Kickoff from Austin will be at 7:00 p.m. 

“Now the real season begins,” Kelly said. “Now it’s a battle, and it’s what we’re here for. It’s conference play and, as a competitor, that really excites me, and I’m going to make sure that our squad is a lot more excited than I am.”