Goaltending, defense spark No. 2-ranked Soccer
· 2007 Soccer: |
Having equaled a school record with a 3-0-0 start, which included a triumph against then second-ranked UCLA, Texas Soccer owned six victories and a tie in eight matches as September wound to a close.
The Horns scored 14 goals in those encounters, limiting the opposition to just six.
Still, coach Chris Petrucelli talked about having room for improvement.
"We have played really well at times," said the man who is in his eighth year of guiding UT's soccer fortunes.
The victory against UCLA, Texas' first in school history against a team ranked No. 2 in the country, was an example of when the team has played well.
"They worked really hard in that game," he said. "I was happy to see them get rewarded for that hard work. We're getting better but it has taken a little time, regardless of the results. When we have gotten into trouble is when we have lost our focus and made some errors because of that lack of focus."
Such was the case in the lone loss through September -- a 2-0 decision against Arizona.
When Petrucelli looked toward the 2007 season, he believed defense and goaltending would be the strength of this team.
Indeed, it has been.
In the wake of the triumph against UCLA, All-America junior defender Kasey Moore was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week. She registered the game-tying goal against UCLA and then-freshman Brooke Lee netted the game-winner, earning Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors.
However, goaltender Dianna Pfenninger has been the key defensively. She became the all-time winningest goalie for the Longhorns with a 6-0 shutout of UTSA at mid-month. That was the 29th victory for the junior from Sugar Land Clements.
"It is an honor," Pfenninger said. "I wasn't even aware. I just work my hardest every game. That record really is a testament to the kinds of teams we've had here. I just want us to continue to have a great season."
In the game when Pfenninger claimed a school-record 29th victory, senior All-America Kelsey Carpenter of Allen recorded her second multi-goal game of the year. Carpenter, who established a single-season game-winning goal mark in 2006 with eight, is on the verge of tying the all-time record for game-winning goals.
"I'm encouraged by what we are doing," Petrucelli said. "Positive things have come out of our recent games and we need to build on that.
"Looking ahead, I feel good because we are giving ourselves a chance to win every game. We just need to be more productive in scoring goals and that means being more efficient in passing the ball."