Julius Shieh/The Daily Texan
In a hard-fought match, No. 21 Texas drew against West Virginia Thursday, 0-0, giving up its lead at the top of the Big 12 to TCU.
“(We) created enough to put one away I thought,” head coach Angela Kelly said. “I think that was a chess match.”
On paper, this was a game that the Longhorns were not supposed to contend in. Texas came into Thursday evening’s contest with an all-time record of 2-9-1 against West Virginia.
But in front of a season-high crowd of 2,049, the Longhorns left Mike A. Myers Stadium upbeat knowing they put in a great effort, showcasing the talented team missing two pieces.
“I thought we played really solid,” Kelly said. “It was probably our best team performance as a unit.”
The Longhorns and the Mountaineers took time to get comfortable during the first half of regulation. Both teams struggled, managing to only put up nine combined shots along with one corner kick as attacking play came at a minimum.
It was announced before the game that the Longhorns were without senior midfielder Julia Grosso along with freshman midfielder Amelia Abbott. Instead of focusing on who wasn’t here, Kelly applauded her young squad for stepping up and playing with high intensity throughout the contest.
“It’s a sign of a young team when you have as many overtime ties as we do,” Kelly said. “It’s just one hair here or there.”
Texas came out of the locker room and started the second half looking more like themselves. Within the opening five minutes, senior forward Mackenzie McFarland sent a low shot at goal that was collected by the Mountaineer goalkeeper.
“I just think our players really want it,” Kelly said. “You can really want to win, have the effort and create chances. Now, you just want to see the team reward themselves when that happens.”
Minutes later, West Virginia raced down the field toward goal. As soon as they shot at goal, senior goalkeeper Savannah Madden jumped into the air, deflecting the ball over the top of the crossbar for a corner kick.
Madden finished the contest with seven saves and increased her shutout streak to four straight contests.
Near the 77th minute, freshman forward Trinity Byars moved from the right side of the box toward the center as she raced past defenders. Byars had a window to take a shot but a heavy touch on a dribble forced her to pass to a teammate.
Texas outshot West Virginia in both overtime periods 5-4, but could not find the back of the net as the contest ended in a scoreless draw for the Longhorns’ fifth tie of the season.
After a shaky start to the beginning of the season, the Longhorns have not dropped a game in 10 straight matches and have two more games left: one at home against Oklahoma State and one on the road in Lawrence.
Those two final games will be crucial for deciding the Big 12 regular season champion: TCU currently leads with 16 points and a 5-1-1 record, while the Longhorns are in second with 15 points and a 4-0-3 conference record.
“We just have to make sure that we recover and get ready for another great opponent,” Kelly said. “We have two really tough games left, and then we’ll head into postseason play.”