Longhorns secure 300th program victory in dramatic fashion

Vicente Montalvo, Sports Reporter

Emotions ran high Thursday evening at Mike A. Myers Stadium as Texas and Samford sat tied 1-1 in the second period of overtime. Freshman forward Trinity Byars put the game away for the Longhorns to give the program its 300th victory.

Near the 103rd minute mark, senior midfielder Julia Grosso possessed the ball. Looking up, Grosso noticed significant space down the right side of the field and not many defenders in sight as Byars made a last effort run toward goal.

Grosso played a through ball to Byars who gained possession drifting wide before cutting back in near the top of the box, forcing the goalkeeper to stand on her feet instead of playing the ball. With all the confidence in the world, Byars sent a powerful shot toward goal that went right past the keeper into the bottom right netting as her teammates rushed the field and celebrated the victory.

Instead of getting caught up in the magnitude of the moment, Byars was just happy to help the team win.

“We finally got a win back-to-back, so that feels really good,” Byars said. “Hopefully we can keep getting wins after this game.”

It wasn’t an easy contest for Texas which went down early in the game. After a Longhorn defender fouled an opposing player near the corner flag, the Bulldogs had an opportunity to get on the board.

A Samford player tried putting an inswinging ball toward goal in the back of the net, but a Texas defender was there for a deflection. It looked like the Longhorns were going to get away without conceding, but the ball fell right in front of a Bulldog player which she put in the back of the net to give Samford the 1–0 lead.

Almost 10 minutes later, the Longhorns responded with the dynamic freshman duo of Byars and freshman midfielder Lexi Missimo. Missimo received the ball near goal and didn’t try to beat defenders, but instead looked around trying to create an opportunity for her teammate.

Byars made a run through two defenders as Missimo played a beautifully weighted ball, giving her the time to control and then fire a shot low and past the keeper to tie the game 1-1.

The Longhorns had a lot of opportunities throughout the night, tallying 33 total shots, two shy of a season high. The shot total didn’t matter though, as it was Byars being clinical in the final third to put the game to rest and give Texas the 2-1 victory.

In her last two games, Byars has scored three goals and does not plan on slowing down anytime soon. If the chances continue to come her way, Byars has no doubt in her finishing ability.

“I feel like just being focused in front of the goal and being more confident,” Byars said. “I feel like I can make those shots more easily.”

Texas has one more non-conference game this Sunday at home against Siue before hitting the road and beginning conference play. Being 3-3-2 does not faze the Longhorns, as they are looking just to improve and compete for the Big 12 title.

“The team’s feeling really good coming off two wins,” Byars said. “I feel like we’re getting stronger and stronger with each game. We’re looking forward to (conference play).”