Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Despite solid defense, Texas soccer continues to struggle against ranked opponents

Skyler Sharp
Texas’ forward Trinity Byars readies to kick the ball as WVU’s midfielder May McCutcheon (left) and Nyema Ingleton (right) catches up to her.

Since 2019, the Texas soccer team has held a winning record in each regular season and has made consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament (except during the pandemic in 2020). The team has found themselves ranked six times over this span of success and has held high expectations. As the current season finds its way to the midpoint, the team finds itself having trouble against ranked opponents.  

In the past eight seasons, the soccer team has had 26 matches against ranked opponents. In that time the team’s overall record against their ranked competition is 4-16-6. This record roughly equates to a 15% win percentage, a 62% loss percentage and a 23% tying percentage. 

Though it has made NCAA tournament appearances in five of its past six seasons, the team has struggled to move beyond the second round. Texas’ last Sweet 16 appearance was in 2017.      

So far this season, the Longhorns have faced three ranked opponents: No. 23 Gonzaga (0-0 tie), No. 25 Texas Tech (2-1 loss) and No. 6 BYU (3-2 loss). The major difference is how the teams play near the end of the game. 

Against both Texas Tech and BYU, the Longhorns held their own. Texas’ opponents gained an upper hand in the final ten minutes of play in both matches. BYU scored its game winning goal in the 83rd minute and Texas Tech scored its in the final four seconds of the match.        

“I’m disappointed. I think the effort is definitely there, it’s just being able to execute,” head coach Angela Kelly said in a statement published by Texas Athletics after the BYU match.     

A highlight of the Longhorns’ efforts against ranked opponents has been their overall defense. When facing No. 23 Gonzaga, Texas held the then No. 3 scoring offense in all of women’s soccer to zero goals, forcing a tie. Offensively, the Longhorns have been equally impressive, leading all of Division 1 soccer with 44 goals with an average of 3.38 goals per game. 

With such a high powered offense and capable defense, a turnaround against ranked opponents is within reach. This goal is especially accomplishable with the efforts of juniors Lexi Missimo and Trinity Byars. Both Byars and Missimo are top four in scoring and goals per game in the NCAA. The duo is the highest-scoring pair in a single season in Texas soccer history.                 

The team has another chance to redeem themselves against a ranked opponent, possibly its last of the regular season. This Thursday, the Longhorns are set to face their fourth ranked opponent this year in No. 19 UCF. The Knights are the last remaining ranked opponents on the Longhorns’ regular season schedule if current rankings stand. UCF is currently 8-3 and has defeated four of the five Big 12 teams it has faced this season.

Outside of ranked opponents, the team has found major success. The Longhorns currently hold a 8-3-2 overall record and have only dropped one game against an unranked opponent. Though another winning record is likely, Texas will need to buckle down against tournament teams.

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