Though the regular season is over, there is still work to be done. The Longhorns (10-7-1, 3-4-1) will play in San Antonio today for the first round of the Big 12 Tournament.
“Our whole mindset has been to start strong, finish stronger,” said senior Kylie Doniak. “We’re ready for the tournament, we’re ready to finish the season strong.”
Texas is seeded No. 5 in the eight-team tournament. Oklahoma State, the No. 2 team in the nation, is the top seed in the tourney, while Iowa State didn’t qualify for it and Kansas State does not field a varsity team. It looks like it will be a difficult road ahead for the Longhorns.
“The Big 12 tournament is difficult. Every team can play,” said Texas head coach Chris Petrucelli. “It doesn’t matter where you are seeded, all the teams are quality teams so every game is a hard game.”
The last time Texas and Texas Tech met up, the Longhorns fell to the Red Raiders 3-2 in a lengthy double-overtime contest on the road.
Accolades were handed out this week across the Big 12 just in time for the tournament. Despite finishing fifth in the Big 12 and unranked in the country, the Longhorns are well represented across the board.
Freshman Brooke Gilbert and senior transfer Taylor Knaack were two of 11 athletes named to the Big 12 All-Newcomer squad for their contributions to their teams. Gilbert was one of only two freshmen to start every game this season — her lone goal of the season secured the 1-0 Longhorn victory over Seattle University last month.
Knaack, who started at forward all season before an injury sidelined her, had five assists and three goals on the season. Her quick feet secured the Longhorns’ victories against both Cal State Northridge and Georgia.
Academically, Texas has significant representation on all conference teams. Nine Longhorns were selected for the Academic All-Big 12 Team with nine on the first team and two on the second. Senior forward Kylie Doniak has earned a spot on the first team for the last three years and junior Kristin Cummins was also named to the first team for the second time.
Finally, juniors Alexa Gaul and Hanna Higgins, along with sophomores Lexi Harris and Nina Frausing-Pederson, were named to the All-Big 12 second team. Gaul was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week earlier this season and has established herself in the Texas record books with a spot at No. 2 in career shutouts.
Printed on Wednesday, November 2, 2011 as: Texas opens Big 12 tournament against Tech