Texas soccer’s dynamic Missimo-Byars duo shines in victory over Utah State

Nick Hargroue, Sports Reporter

Texas soccer returned home from a two-game road trip Thursday, continuing the team’s momentum in a convincing 2-1 defeat of Utah State at Mike A. Myers Stadium.

The Longhorns’ pair of elite sophomore scorers, midfielder Lexi Missimo and forward Trinity Byars, once again led the Longhorns’ offense to success against the Aggies, combining for two goals and an assist.

One of the more entertaining duos in college soccer, Byars and Missimo have been terrorizing defenses since the moment they stepped onto the pitch last season as true freshmen. In addition to being best friends off the field, the pair’s skill sets complement each other well, with Missimo being more of a facilitator and Byars being the true goal-scorer of the pair.

“We’ve been playing together since we were like six or seven years old,” Byars said. “We just know where (the) other (is) on the field. It’s pretty easy to connect with her, and she gives me great assists.”

Missimo already sits seventh all-time in program history for assists, with 18 in her first 28 career games, while Byars just won her fourth selection to Top Drawer Soccer’s National Team of the Week for her stellar two-goal performance against Florida. 

“When they’re successful … nine and a half times out of ten we’re successful,” head coach Angela Kelly said. “I’m pleased for them. They’re a good quality duo. They get the rest of the team involved, so I’m really excited to have them.”

In Thursday’s game, each of Texas’ goals involved Missimo or Byars. The first came on a successful penalty kick off the foot of Missimo in the sixth minute, winning the mental battle versus Utah State’s senior goalkeeper Diera Walton. The Longhorns took a 1-0 lead into the half, dominating the time of possession and controlling the pace with precision passing and smart decisions.

In the second half, a handball by fifth-year forward Cameron Brooks in the 54th minute gave the Aggies the chance they needed to get back into the game, tying it on a successful penalty shot by junior forward London Miller. However, Byars and Missimo managed to connect for the go-ahead and eventual game-winning goal in the 63rd minute, their chemistry proving to be undeniable.

Utah State by no means made it easy on the Longhorns, pressuring the ball well and flooding the box on defense all game. Despite this, Texas tested its mettle and came out on top against a solid Aggie squad.

“To their credit, they attacked those situations and the attacking third very well,” Kelly said. “(I’m) pleased to come out with the win against a quality opponent. They’re a good team. … I just wish we could have scored a couple more.”

The Longhorns play again on Sunday, taking on UTRGV for their second of four consecutive home games. Texas looks to build on its growing momentum and carry it into the team’s first conference game against powerhouse TCU in Fort Worth on Sept. 22.