AUSTIN, Texas — Sometimes it’s difficult to pinpoint just why, exactly, a certain season feels differently.
Standing as just one of just 14 undefeated teams in the nation, the Texas Soccer team is primed and ready to stand up to expectations this year and seize season-long success as they enter Big 12 Conference play tonight hosting Baylor.
A season ago, the Longhorns came into Big 12 action unbeaten as well, yet stumbled through conference play, ultimately losing to Baylor in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament.
As Texas enters Big 12 play this season, they welcome their old foe to the Forty Acres feeling — knowing — this season is different, according to head coach Ange Kelly.
Junior defensive back Emma Jett and freshman defender Emma Regan are a perfect example of how the Longhorns have taken their extreme depth and meshed seamlessly together on the pitch.
For Jett, the confidence shining through the entire roster comes from the feeling of know they know how to win in any situation now. Coming off last year’s strong run to a loss in the third round of the NCAA tourney to powerhouse Duke, the acclimation and assimilation process heading into this fall was painless.
Now all the way up to No. 11 in the latest rankings, there’s a subtle difference on the pitch for the Horns that shows they’re not satisfied — such as barely celebrating goals and instead acting like that’s exactly what they’re supposed to be doing. The contributions are coming from the top to the bottom of the roster, as Kelly rotated heavily though the pre-conference schedule in order to have her entire team comfortable playing alongside any teammate, and to get players used to playing time sometimes going up and down between matches. Texas has been the better defensive squad though, ranking second in goals-against-average (0.54) with Baylor coming in eighth (1.00).
The Bears enter the match at 7-3 on the season so far, slotting in with Texas as the top-scoring teams in the conference with 24 goals.
Senior forward Alexa Adams has a scoring streak going having tallied at least one point in five straight matches, while senior midfielder Katie Glenn has been on a hot streak of her own lately with goals in three of UT's last four matches and points in four of the last five contests.
Even more impressive than their record indicates, the Longhorns have led only trailed in their nine matches for a total of 11:04 (against Texas State) out of 832:38 total match time so far this season.
A torrid start to the season netted the Texas offense plenty of attention, but the defensive efforts of the Horns have led to five shutouts with junior goalie Nicole Curry’s current career goals-against-average of 0.68 standing as the lowest mark in school history so far.
The Horns host Baylor at 7pm tonight at Mike A. Myers Stadium.