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

With a Big 12 Championship win, Texas soccer gets automatic bid to NCAA Tournament

Courtesy of Texas Athletics

“Texas fight” chants echoed across the Round Rock Multipurpose Complex as Texas soccer won the Big 12 tournament title, its first since 2007, beating Brigham Young University 3-1.

In a battle between a conference newcomer and a departing team, a solid all-around second-half performance gave the Longhorns the edge over the Cougars. BYU went into the tournament as the No. 6 team in the country and the No. 2 seed in the tournament, finishing second in the Big 12 regular season.

“I’m happy,” said Texas head coach Angela Kelly. “They’ve worked so hard for this. It’s exciting to do this now that we are moving onto a different conference. I just want to really thank the Big 12. We’ve had a wonderful time here with them. There are wonderful people at the Big 12 head office.”

Junior midfielder Lexi Missimo opened the scoring early with a goal in the second minute. With assists from junior midfielder Ashlyn Miller and junior forward Trinity Byars, Missimo found the bottom left of the goal.

“Man, it kind of all happened so fast,” Missimo said. “It started with a perfect ball from Ashlyn and I just happened to finish it. It felt really good.”

Within 10 minutes, the teams were level again. Senior forward Brecken Mozingo soon equalized for the Cougars, tying the game at 1-1. 

Neither team was able to break through before halftime despite six shots. The teams went into the second half level, unable to convert another goal. 

The outcome of the match began to change early in the second half. At the 55-minute mark, junior forward Trinity Byars earned Texas a penalty when she was taken down in the box. Missimo, who had not missed a penalty this season, stepped to the spot, finding the bottom right of the net, breaking the tie. The midfielder continued her streak of scoring twice against every Big 12 newcomer this season, including a regular season brace in the loss to BYU. 

“I went both ways (left and right) throughout the season,” Missimo said. “But tonight, I just went with my gut feeling and she went to the opposite side, so that worked out.”

Trying to put Texas two goals up, junior forward Holly Ward missed an opportunity by sending the ball wide, but quickly recovered and scored the game-winner. Ward sealed the match with a strike into the bottom-left corner of the goal with 15 minutes to go. 

Missimo and starting junior goalkeeper Mia Justus were respectively awarded offensive and defensive most outstanding players in the Big 12 championship. 

Justus finished the match with six saves, including diving to stop senior forward Rachel McCarthy’s header from going in two minutes after Missimo’s penalty kick.

“I don’t have any words,” Justus said. “I’m just so proud of this team. I think over the last couple of matches, we’ve been preparing, and it showed tonight. I’m really proud of everyone.”

With the win, Texas clinched an automatic spot in the NCAA Tournament and will find out its next opponent in the tournament draw on Monday. 

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