Longhorns steer past New Mexico State defense for first win of the season

Vicente Montalvo

Senior midfielder Julia Grosso made a run past the defensive backline toward goal as teammate freshman forward Trinity Byars played a through ball to her. Controlling the ball with the first touch, Grosso struck the ball, sending it below the lunging keeper for her second goal of the match. 

Texas women’s soccer finally captured their first win of the season Thursday, beating an undefeated New Mexico State squad 4-0 at Mike A. Myers Stadium.

The Longhorns were led throughout the match by Grosso and freshman midfielder Lexi Missimo. Both talented players tallied two goals apiece for the Longhorns as they were clinical throughout the evening in the attacking third.

Something lacking in their previous matches was the mentality to attack early and often, but that changed Thursday night.

“The amount of opportunities we had in and around the six — there were quite a lot,” head coach Angela Kelly said. 

Texas got on the board late in the fifth minute when Grosso took off toward goal, weaving in and out of traffic before finding herself with a shot opportunity. With all the confidence of an Olympic gold medalist, she sent a ball past the keeper into the far post to put Texas up 1-0. 

The two Longhorn freshman recruits continued the goal scoring effort in the 10th minute when Byars played a ball to Missimo near the left side of the box. Missimo took her chances at goal as she curled a ball past the keeper into the net to add to the Longhorns’ lead and give the generational talent her first collegiate goal.

Kelley constantly rotated players during tonight’s contest, something that was missing during their loss to  No. 11 Georgetown. A total of nine Longhorn substitutes had the opportunity to step on the field Thursday evening.

“When you have two games in a weekend you have to try to manage your bodies,” Kelley said. “We have a really deep squad, and we were able to get lots of people contributing and to me that’s important as we go throughout the season.”

Not only was the attack clinical for the Longhorns, their defense was too. Fifth year goalkeeper Savannah Madden had her first shutout of the season between the sticks, making an incredible save during the first half of the game.

When an Aggie forward raced their way toward the goal, Madden stood tall, defending the net. Making a Longhorn defender move in the wrong direction, the forward created enough space to send a shot at Madden which was deflected away from goal. She finished with four saves on the night.

“To have a clean sheet is important to us,” Kelly said. “Madden was the game changer voted on by the squad. She had a great match and she’s just so mature back there.” 

Texas can’t celebrate for too long as they face a ranked opponent in Rice this Sunday. Kelly says  the team is ready for whatever challenge is ahead of them and looks to improve every time the Horns take the field. 

“If you look at our schedule, probably 90% of them are ranked now,” Kelly said. “They can be No. 1 in the country, they can be No. 19 — it doesn’t matter to us. It’s just important that we get better every match.”