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

Texas soccer looks to blend experience with newcomers as SEC appearance approaches

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Freshman defensive-midfielder Carly Montgomery runs with the ball on September 3, 2023. The Longhorns defeated SMU 6-0.

As Texas soccer enters the SEC this fall, head coach Angela Kelly will return to Mike A. Myers Stadium, not only with her entire starting 11 of the 2023 season but also with the luxury of a top-10 recruiting class.

After defender Carly Montgomery and forward Avery Clark made the All-Big 12 Freshman Team last year, this year’s new batch of Longhorns are looking to make the same impact. While Top Drawer Soccer ranks the Longhorns as one of the top-10 recruiting classes in the nation, it’s not only their talent that makes them exciting but their potential to bond quickly with the returners.

It starts with senior forward Jilly Shimkin as she is reunited with her younger sister, Chloe Shimkin. The rising senior has spent the last two seasons on the Forty Acres, scoring 11 goals and 19 assists. The two look forward to finally having the chance to play together.

“We’ve never played together before,” Chloe said in an interview earlier this year. “Having the opportunity in such a great environment, it’s just something you can’t pass up.” 

Three of the eight players recruited by Kelly all played for Solar Soccer Club, a highly respected club team in Texas. Solar has alumni playing at the professional level and has sent over 500 players to the collegiate level in the last six years. Two of these alumni are midfielder Lexi Missimo and forward Trinity Byars, both entering their senior year after accumulating 91 goals and 84 assists collectively.

The rising freshman trio of midfielder Lola Foley and defenders Vivian Geesbreght and Cambry Patrick all played for Solar and will look to learn from Missimo and Byars.

The star duo can also take midfielder Molly MacMillan and forward Amalia Villarreal under their wing, as the two come from California and Michigan respectively. Goalkeeper and former national champion with Florida State, senior Mia Justus, can mentor freshman goalkeeper Kendall Williams as she makes her way to Texas from Illinois.

Freshman forward Rosa Maalouf can connect with fellow Canadian and senior forward Holly Ward. Ward contributed four goals and four assists in 17 starts during the 2023 season.

Looking ahead at their inaugural season in the SEC, the Longhorns are stepping into unfamiliar territory. Of its 10 scheduled SEC opponents, Texas only played two of those teams in the 2023 season. These two games resulted in a 31 home defeat to LSU and a 20 away defeat to Oklahoma. 

On top of this, Texas also has to play Georgia, Arkansas and Mississippi State, who all ranked higher than Texas in the NCAA’s final rankings in December 2023. 

The road ahead may be uncharted territory for the Longhorns, but with the unique personnel of players at her disposal, Coach Kelly will look to bring the same success she had in the Big 12 to the SEC.

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