It was not just the 100-degree heat and gusting winds that bothered the Texas offense on Sunday, but also Dartmouth’s defense. The Big Green was willing to park the bus in an effort to slow down Texas’ possession style attack.
“They made it hard for us, they were really organized,” said Texas head coach Chris Petrucelli. “They prevented us from playing short balls into the middle which we like to do.”
However, the Longhorns were patient and it paid off with two goals late in the first and second halves as Texas went on to win 2-0.
The first goal was scored by this weekend’s star, junior Vanessa Ibewuike, who found the back of the net twice in as many games. A sub, Ibewuike adds explosiveness and power to the Texas offense when she enters to the game.
“I saw her about to service so I just took off running and luckily it deflected off the defender’s head,” Ibewuike said of her goal. “And it went straight to me and all I had to do is get a foot on it.”
The second half was more of the same and Dartmouth was unable to muster much of an attack against the Longhorns. This may have been because of Texas’ ability to hold onto the ball and force the Big Green to chase.
With 17 players playing significant time for the Horns, Texas was able to wear down Dartmouth and the match started to present Texas opportunities late in the second half.
Ibewuike set up the second goal with a wonderful cross that Hannah Higgins finished for her first goal of the season. Higgins had another opportunity to score in the 87th minute, but Dartmouth keeper Tatiana Saunders made an excellent save to keep the score at 2-0.
The win was Texas’ fifth straight after starting off the season with a loss. The major change for Texas has been the defense that has only given up one goal during their current five game-winning streak.
“I feel like we have been solid in the back, even today we didn’t really give up a goal or scoring chances,” Petrucelli said.
The foundation of the defense has been keeper Alexa Gaul, who had three saves and a shutout on Sunday. The junior goalie is now tied with Jamie Strong and Cami Varnadore for the second most career shutouts.
Printed on September 6, 2011 as: Ibewuike establishes herself as reliable scoring threat in Horns win