Soccer showcases youth, new style of play in Friday's exhibition
Aug. 12, 2012
Dalton Pool, Texas Media Relations
AUSTIN, Texas - Friday night offered a small glimpse of what's to come for the future of women's soccer at The University of Texas. A program featuring 11 new faces started on a positive note with a 1-0 exhibition victory against Texas State at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
"First and foremost we want to win," said first-year head coach Angela Kelly after the match.
But not only did Kelly's Longhorns pull out the win, they did so in aggressive fashion and with a possession-oriented style of soccer that brings a fresh change of pace to the Forty Acres.
"What we really want to do is build soccer-minded individuals who play what they see and make their own decisions on the field," Kelly said. "Ultimately, we want to play very attractively."
UT's ball movement was noticeable from the opening whistle, as the Longhorns demonstrated patience while working the ball around the back line and through the midfield before eventually looking for that penetrating pass into the final offensive third.
The new style of play proved to not just be for looks either, as the Longhorns racked up 22 shots (12 on goal) and 12 corner kicks compared to only seven shots (two on goal) and one corner kick for Texas State.
Texas State was buoyed by stellar work in the goal. The Bobcats' three physical keepers combined for 11 saves, including one on a penalty kick from UT senior Kristin Cummins.
Kelly's talent pool offers another breath of excitement for the Longhorns. Texas was able to showcase its growing on-field discipline while also giving significant playing time to seven newcomers, six of whom are freshman.
Though sophomore transfer Sharis Lachappelle was the only new face to get a spot in the starting lineup, it wasn't long before the other six found their way onto the field.
Just moments after being subbed onto the field in the 18th minute, freshman forward Sydney Shutter immediately made her presence felt by making a penetrating run down that left side that almost led to the the Longhorns' first goal of the season.
"I told Sydney Shutter two things before she went into her first college game, and she executed both of them immediately and found success for herself," Kelly said. "If she stays as coachable and disciplined as she demonstrated in her first appearance, we are going to be in good shape."
Kelly showed just how much trust she has in her newcomers by starting seven of them in the second half and giving more than 60 minutes to four of those seven.
It was hard not to notice Meyer on the field. After all, at six-feet tall, she towers over most of the competition. But it was Meyer's composure on the ball that impressed Kelly the most.
"People are expecting her to win balls in the air because of her size, but honestly I was more impressed with how calming she was on the ball with her ability to keep possession and be a playmaker in that defensive mid position," Kelly said.
While Meyer was dominating the middle, Shimmick was taking control of the sidelines by using her speed and skill to get behind defenders and deliver balls into the box.
Campbell and Schmalz were both very solid in the back, and Strawser displayed quickness and creativity in her center mid role.
It was a good opening night for Texas Soccer. Not only did the Longhorns get the win against Texas State, but they showed a commanding grasp of Kelly's trademark style and philosophy despite less than two weeks of preseason training.
"I liked the way we moved the ball. If we lost the ball, everyone on the team would work together to get it back," said Cummins, who scored UT's lone goal in the second half. "I think that will be key for us in the future."
UT opens the regular season against Dayton on Friday, Aug. 17 at 7 p.m. Central inside Mike A. Myers Stadium. The match will be televised by Longhorn Network.