The Texas Soccer team started with a goal by senior Sharis Lachapelle in the first half and then cruised to a 3-0 win over Rice in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on a chilly Friday night at Mike A. Meyers stadium.
“I’m really proud of this program and all the young ladies that are on our squad,” Texas head coach Angela Kelly said. “I thought we responded in the second half and scored a goal in the first five minutes, and that was critical. I thought that we were more disciplined in the attack as well in the second half. Credit to Rice, they’re a great team, a great program, well coached. They had us on our heels in moments of the match, which is what you’re expecting in the first round. I’m really pleased with the outcome and looking forward to next week.”
In the 28th minute senior Sharis Lachapelle collected a loose ball rebound in the penalty box, knocked it into the back of the Rice net and gave Texas a 1-0 lead. Cierra Grubbs and Kelsey Shimmick earned the assist on Lachappelle’s third goal of the season.
“I think [the opening goal] settled us down,” sophomore Julia Dyche said. “It kind of lit a spark for the team, so it was a huge goal for us.”
Texas maintained control of possession through much of the rest of the first half. Rice did make a big threat with six minutes left in the first half when the Owls pushed the ball deep into Texas territory drew goalkeeper Abby Smith off of her line and put a shot on the empty goal. Fortunately two Texas defenders stepped in, kicked the ball out and prevented Rice from scoring.
In the second half the Longhorns came out firing and quickly added to their lead. Four minutes into the second half, Kelsey Jaynes sent an arching pass into the 6-yard box and Olivia Brook tapped it in for her 7th goal of the season to give Texas the 2-0 lead.
With 25 minutes to play sophomore Julia Dyche added an extra insurance goal when she pasted a shot from 30 yards out straight away from the goal to give Texas the 3-0 lead. Freshman Morgan Murphy fed Dyche the ball and earned the assist on the play.
“I think Morgan [Murphy] set it up for me on a tee,” Dyche said. “When I hit it I kind of knew it was going in. So it felt really good.”
Texas out-shot Rice by a commanding 21-8 margin, including 9-1 over the second 45 minutes of play. Each team had five corner kicks in the game.
The Longhorns will play the fourth seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the second round of the tournament next week.
“It’s just a great opportunity to get to play with this group of girls, we’re all best friends and we love to play with each other.” Lachappelle said. “It’s just another week of practices and all of those memories you don’t get to have unless you are still playing. So I think we’re just looking forward to growing closer as a team and getting another opportunity to play the game we love.”