Oklahoma State forward Krista Lopez has been tearing up teams all season with her goal scoring, and is a big reason why the Cowgirls were undefeated in the Big 12 entering their Friday match with Texas. She’s second in the conference with 12 goals, and her six game-winners lead all scorers in the Big 12.
But the Longhorn defense was able to shut her and the rest of the Cowgirls down and hold onto a 1-0 lead for their fourth Big 12 win.
“I told our players to keep [Oklahoma State] outside. Lopez is a nice player out wide, and Kyndall Treadwell is as well,” Texas coach Chris Petrucelli said. “The biggest thing was not letting them get inside with the ball.”
Oklahoma State has scored the majority of their goals this season by taking the ball along the sidelines and cutting into the box, beating defenders inside and getting shots on goal. But Texas outside backs Erica Campanelli and Sophie Campise were up to the challenge, and kept Lopez and Treadwell at bay for most of the game.
“Erica did a great job keeping on [Lopez], forcing her wide, not letting her cut inside. She really shut her down for us,” middle back Lucy Keith said. “We try to provide cover for Erica if she ever got past her, but she really didn’t much.”
Keith also had a great game for Texas at defense, and may have came up with the play of the game. Late in the first half, with the score tied at 0-0, Texas goalkeeper Alexa Gaul made a save on a shot that came from just outside the box, but the ball landed a few yards in front of her. With Gaul out of position, Keith stood tall along the goal line and thwarted a shot from Lopez.
“It happened so fast, I think I was just in the right spot at the right time,” Keith said of the play. “I just wanted to clear the ball from the box, it’s always scary in there.”
Texas did a great job of isolating Oklahoma State’s forwards and not allowing them to connect passes to move forward, especially in the second half, where the Cowgirls were only able to get one shot.
Gaul notched her eighth shutout of the season with the win, moving her into first place in the conference in the category.