After an uneventful match that went 110 minutes without a single goal scored and required a shootout round to decide its victor, Texas has been eliminated from the Big 12 championship tournament, falling to TCU in penalty kicks 3-1.
The Longhorns entered their first game of the tournament as the three seed after a victory over Oklahoma in the team’s final regular season game.
While they did enter the match with positive momentum, they did not arrive in Kansas City at full strength. The Longhorns were without sophomores Julia Grosso, Carlee Allen and Mackenzie McFarland as they all sat with injuries.
The absence of these players were felt on the offensive end, especially without Grosso. She is one of the team’s most important playmakers, creating opportunities for herself and her teammates alike.
As a result, TCU outshot Texas 22-17 in regulation as the Longhorns struggled to find their footing on offense without their key creator. The shots-on-goal difference makes this even more apparent, as the Longhorns were outshot 8-3 in this respect.
While the offense did fail to find the back of the goal, the Texas defense kept the team afloat, stifling the TCU attack for 110 minutes. Junior goalkeeper Savannah Madden’s performance stood out among the rest. Madden brought in nine saves in regulation, while TCU registered just four.
This trend of lackluster offense and stout defense for Texas continued throughout the overtime minutes, as the game remained scoreless for the twenty extra minutes prior to the shootout.
Things changed when the shootout round began.
Texas kicked first, with sophomore outside back Emma Regan taking and making the first kick.
Head coach Angela Kelly had defenders take each of the first three penalty kicks. While Regan made the first shot, their luck ran out as both of the next two Longhorns, Emma Jett and Atu Mshana, missed their kicks. TCU made each of their first three.
In the end, the pressure was on the Longhorn who was most equipped to handle it: senior forward Cyera Hintzen, the one Kelly elected to place fourth in the kicking lineup just for situations like this.
Hintzen, a two-time All-American and former Big 12 offensive player of the year, is a veteran leader of the team.
The equation was simple. If Hintzen made her kick, the Longhorns would stay alive, giving them a chance to force a second shootout. If Hintzen missed, Texas was heading home.
Hintzen’s kick missed, clanking off the bottom of the left post, ending Texas’ run in the Big 12 tournament before it could ever really begin. Texas will now watch the Big 12 tournament as the team awaits its fate for the NCAA tournament, which begins on Friday.