No. 20 Texas soccer advances to Big 12 championship off dramatic penalty kick heroics from Madden, Brooks in win over West Virginia

Arjun Rao, Sports Reporter

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the November 5 flipbook. 

They can beat any team in any stadium.  

No. 20 Texas took down a strong West Virginia team in penalties, 4 – 3, to advance to the Big 12 championship.

Facing off against the Mountaineers, a team that has historically had the Longhorns’ number and boasted an all-time record of 9-2-2 against Texas heading into Thursday’s match, was another step in its journey toward the Big 12 Tournament crown.

Mirroring the Oct. 21 game against the Mountaineers, regulation ended in a 0-0 tie, followed by two overtime periods that did not lead to any scores from either team.

Both teams had ample opportunities to score, but stout defense and unlucky bounces were prominent in the game.

This set up a high-stakes penalty shootout that would determine who TCU, the Big 12 regular season champion, would be facing in the championship game Sunday.

After the Mountaineers made their first two penalties and Texas senior defender Emma Regan put a beautiful curve into the top left corner of the goal, star freshman midfielder Lexi Missimo took the spot for the next shot and aimed to tie the shootout at 2-2.

As the shot left her foot, it looked good until it wasn’t, rocketing toward the goal before bouncing off the left post.

Mountaineers junior midfielder Julianna Lynch had an opportunity to put the Mountaineers up 3-1, but her shot hit the crossbar.

Using this newfound hope, senior midfielder and Canadian Olympic hero Julia Grosso hit a shot into the top right corner of the goal to tie the Mountaineers.

With the Mountaineers and Longhorns each hitting its next shots, West Virginia freshman forward Dilary Heredia-Beltran’s shot was saved by Texas senior goalie Savannah Madden. 

Head coach Angela Kelly put senior forward Cameron Brooks in for the shot that could send Texas to the Big 12 championship match.

Lining up straight behind the ball, Brooks ran up and took a shot that Mountaineers senior goalie Maddie Murphy wasn’t able to react to in time. 

After a hard-fought battle that saw 29 combined shots and 15 fouls — 11 by the Longhorns — Texas’ victory was another injection of confidence into a team that is already overflowing with belief in itself.

“I think it’s a great blend of senior leadership and a lot of bright, young talented players,” Kelly said. “They gave a lot, and I’m so incredibly happy for this squad.”

With TCU standing between Texas and its first Big 12 championship since 2007, the Longhorns have momentum on their side. Texas drew against the Horned Frogs on Sept. 30, setting up an exciting matchup for the crown on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

The Longhorns overcame history, stagnant soccer and a penalty kick deficit to take down the Mountaineers on Thursday. Only time will tell if they can take down TCU as well.