Soccer uses off week to prepare for Oklahoma State
Oct. 3, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas -- When Texas Soccer head coach Angela Kelly and her staff planned out the 2012 soccer season last spring, they purposely put in an open week after an initial road trip to kick off conference play. The Longhorns took advantage of that time week this past week.
Kelly, knowing that her team would be facing one of the toughest nonconference schedules in the nation, wanted last week off to regroup, implement new tactics, get healthy and grow as a team in preparation for a grueling Big 12 Conference schedule.
"We knew last spring when putting together the schedule that with Abby (Smith) returning from World Cup play abroad that she, along with the rest of the team, would need some time off to recover both psychologically and physically," Kelly said. "Having such a difficult nonconference schedule, we knew coming into the season that this time with the team was going to be vital and a great opportunity to train the team, especially our young players, and implement more into our system."
Texas is undefeated in its last four games, winning three of them. Freshman Abby Smith started all four of those contests at goalkeeper for the Longhorns and earned a shutout in the three wins. Smith missed the first eight games of the season while competing for the United States Under-20 Women's National team in the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Japan.
The Longhorns next opponent is Oklahoma State, which won the Big 12 regular season title last year. The Cowgirls are currently ranked 22nd in the nation. However, Texas is confident coming off such a productive week and looks to carry its momentum over the past four games into Friday night's matchup.
"I couldn't be more pleased with how the off week went," Kelly said. "We focused on being more dynamic, playing more aggressive on the defensive side of the ball, adding more numbers in the attack, and honestly just enjoying one another and being excited about where we are and the opportunities ahead of us."
"Oklahoma State is a great team, is very well coached and we are more than looking forward to the challenge on Friday," Kelly added.
If UT gains the victory Friday night, it would be its first 3-0 start in Big 12 play since 2002 and would improve its overall record to .500 for the first time since August.
The game Friday is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start and is the Longhorns' annual Kick for a Cure contest. All fans are encouraged to wear pink to show their support for breast cancer awareness.