Texas Soccer rebounds to beat Kansas 1-0, looks forward to key road tests against Baylor, TCU
Oct. 15, 2012
Dalton Pool, Texas Media Relations
AUSTIN, Texas -- After dropping their first conference game of the season Friday against Texas Tech 1-0, the Longhorns knew they had to rebound in Sunday afternoon's contest against Kansas. That is exactly what they did.
Texas grinded out a 1-0 victory against the Jayhawks as Brooke Gilbert's goal off a corner kick in the 34th minute was all UT needed to pull out the crucial win. After Sharis Lachappelle's service glanced off a defender's head, Kelsey Shimmick found her way to the ball and got off a shot that was blocked by an opposing defender. Gilbert, who happened to be in the right spot, controlled the rebound and buried the ball into the bottom of the net.
Thanks to the Longhorns' sturdy defense and timely saves from freshman goalkeeper Abby Smith, Gilbert's goal was all Texas would need. The shutout was the fifth of Smith's career, and Texas is now 5-1-1 with Smith in goal.
Smith and the Texas defense have shut out Big 12 opponents in all but one game this season, which was Friday's loss against Texas Tech. Through five Big 12 games UT has only allowed one goal, which is a conference best and the fewest allowed in program history through five league matches.
While Smith deserves a lot of the credit, so does the entire Longhorn backline.
Gilbert and Julie Arnold have played every minute of every game this season at center back and neither has missed a start for 36-straight games dating back to the start of last season. In fact, as sophomores, neither has missed a start in their entire careers at Texas.
When you add the new face of freshman right back Ali Schmalz, who has only missed one start this season, due to injury, and get back on the left side sophomore Whitney Jaynes, who was injured for almost all of pre-conference play, the Texas back line has become one of the best in the Big 12.
The Longhorns are now 4-1-0 in the Big 12 and are very much still in the regular season title race. The toughest part of the schedule, however, is still looming for UT.
With three games to go in the regular season the Longhorns have to play two of the top teams, including Baylor on the road this Friday. Texas will then face the two conference newcomers, TCU and West Virginia. The TCU game is Sunday in Fort Worth, and then the following weekend the Mountaineers of West Virginia come to Austin for what could be a matchup of the two top teams in the Big 12.
Head coach Angela Kelly and her team have focused all the attention towards the Baylor Bears and the critical matchup this Friday between the number two and three ranked teams in the Big 12.
"Baylor is having one of their best seasons, and they will be a great test for us," Kelly said. "Plus the game is on the road and we haven't been on the road in a while. We know we can still improve and that we have to keep getting better, but we are really excited to go up to Waco and take on a quality opponent."
The Horns go to Waco to take on Baylor Friday at 7 p.m. at Betty Lou Mays Field, and then continue their road trip to Fort Worth to take on TCU Sunday at 1 p.m. at Garvey Rosenthal Soccer Stadium.