Texas soccer moves into first place in Big 12 off 1-0 victory, celebrate head coach’s birthday with cupcakes, high-profile guests

Arjun Rao

Texas enjoyed cupcakes Sunday.

After winning their seventh game of the season 1-0 over Texas Tech, the Longhorns celebrated head coach Angela Kelly’s birthday. The team also moved into first place in the Big 12 with its victory at Mike A. Myers Stadium and Soccer Field and a 3-0-1 conference record.

Off a Longhorn corner kick at the eight-minute mark, senior midfielder Julia Grosso received the ball from Texas Tech junior defender Hannah Anderson, who was attempting to clear it with her head. Grosso promptly headed the ball to freshman forward midfielder Trinity Byars, who passed it back to Grosso on the ground.

With no extra touches, Grosso fired a shot with her left foot, scoring the ultimately decisive goal at the beginning of the game.

“As the game went on, we started to realize that if we (maintain possession), we’re a pretty untouchable team,” Grosso said.

Texas had possession of the ball for 59% of the game.

After Grosso’s goal, the rest of the game was filled with missed chances for both teams. 

In the 33rd minute, Red Raider senior forward Kirsten Davis pushed the ball down the left side of the field. With a double move, she was able to get around Longhorn senior midfielder Carlee Allen. Using her left foot, Davis shot and missed off the left goal post.

Red Raiders junior forward Macy Schultz was able to rebound the miss. With Texas fifth-year goalie Savannah Madden on the ground from attempting to save Allen’s shot, the goal was wide open. However, Schultz’s shot bounced off the crossbar and was cleared by Texas.

This underscored the struggles both teams faced when trying to score today.

Texas’s shot accuracy was 33% while the Red Raiders was only 18%.

Grosso, Byars and freshman midfielder Lexi Missimo dealt with constant double and triple teams from the Red Raiders.

“They’re getting a ton of respect, as they should,” Kelly said.

Despite their lacking offensive performance, the Longhorns aren’t apologizing for the way in which they won.  

When asked about her thoughts after hearing her team had moved into first place in the Big 12, Kelly was candid.

“That’s the expectation here in Texas,” she said. “That’s what all these players choose to come here for.”

Sophomore defender Lauren Lapomarda was helped off the field after injuring her leg. Kelly said she was available to return, but sat out for precautionary reasons.

After the victory, the Longhorns enjoyed cupcakes as they celebrated Kelly’s birthday. Old friends of hers came to watch as she coached the Longhorns to their seventh straight game without a loss. Among those present were U.S. soccer legends Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly and Tisha Venturini-Hoch.

When asked about her high-profile guests after the game, Kelly jokingly replied, “Not bad, right?”

Attempting to avoid any attention and interviews, Hamm wore sunglasses and a baseball cap, and didn’t stray away from the crowd of UT soccer players, coaches and guests.

In addition to the birthday festivities, there was a lively atmosphere as the Austin Samba band played in the stands throughout the game.

Texas is now 7-3-3 on the season and will play Iowa State next at home on Oct. 8.