The Texas Longhorns took a giant step in the right direction with two road wins to kick off Big 12 Conference play. While the offense picked up its shot production in the second game of the weekend against Baylor, they struggled to find the back of the net. The Longhorns remained patient and continued to pressure the Bears, consistently getting in behind their backline. Eventually enough goals came as the veteran front line in junior forward Kelsey Carpenter and senior forward Amy Burlingham each notched a score on the board. Texas found a way to win, which will remain crucial in conquering their challenging away schedule.
UT looked dangerous in a number of ways on offense, including their attack off corners. Sophomore defender Kasey Moore continued to find the ball and put a dangerous shot on goal. As Texas pushes forward from the wings to the endline, they can send either a dangerous ball into the box or force a corner that will give Moore the chance to convert. Additional opportunities will materialize with the high pressure from the frontline. Opponents will force miscues or look to play more direct, giving Texas the chance to strip the ball away and spring forward.
The Texas backline limited their opponents’ opportunities on goal and gave up only a breakaway that produced a score for Baylor. The talented Texas defense rarely allows players to handle the ball up front. Only when a speedy forward slips through off a counter attack or from a quick through ball out of the backfield does the UT defense look threatened. The youthful defense will have to stay disciplined and maintain their line in order to prevent passes from sneaking through the seams. The defense needs the speed in their outside backs-- sophomore Jill Gilbeau and sophomore Stephanie Logterman--in these break-away instances. Therefore, it remains crucial that the backs carefully pick their times to go forward and contribute to the Texas attack. So far this season, both Logterman and Gilbeau have balanced their runs forward without getting caught up field.
THE COMING WEEK
The keys for the Horns this upcoming week will be putting goals across the goal line and maintaining their energy for the full 90 minutes. On the opposite end, the Texas defense will have a bit more size to handle this weekend than in the previous road match ups. Both the backline and the midfield will have to work to challenge the taller teams in the air on 50-50 balls. The Texas frontline will have to continue to run off these balls and the long punts from sophomore goalkeeper Dianna Pfenninger in order to secure possession and push forward. Texas lost to both Oklahoma State and Oklahoma last year when they traveled north for the league match-ups. However, both teams have struggled to beat Texas on the 40 Acres. Coming off two Big-12 road wins, thrilled to be back home, and anxious to avenge their losses from a year ago, the Longhorns will come out fired up and ready to play against the visitors.
STAMPS OF APPROVAL
STAMP'S PLAY OF THE WEEK: Sophomore goalkeeper Dianna Pfenninger launched a punt up field to senior forward Amy Burlingham, who took the ball down, beat her defenders, and slipped the game winner past Baylor’s goalie, putting the Longhorns up 2-1.
STAMP'S PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Senior midfielder Carrie Schmit scored the game-winner and then cushioned the lead with a second goal against Texas Tech, recording her first collegiate multi-goal performance.