By Steve Lansdale
AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas battled through a scoreless first half against No. 5 North Carolina Friday at Mike A. Myers Stadium, but then surrendered two goals in the first four minutes of the second half en route to a 2-0 loss that leveled the Longhorns’ record at 1-1.
“Credit to North Carolina,” Texas head coach Angela Kelly said. “They've obviously been a national power for 30-plus years now. I thought we were well organized in the first half. We couldn't afford to make any mistakes that they were going to capitalize on, and I think in the first five minutes (of the second half), that's what happened. It took a little bit of the wind out of our sails, and then we struggled to get any piece of the ball after that. I'm just really proud of our fight. It's two weeks into the season. There are a lot of things we can tighten up and certainly some growing we're going to do. This type of game challenges us and exposes us in ways that are going to prepare us for the conference.” (Continue reading below...)
(Continued from above) The Tar Heels got the only goal they would need when midfielder Cameron Castleberry pounced on a Texas turnover and slipped it past UT goalkeeper Abby Smith from four yards out. Minutes later, UNC’s Joanna Boyles fired a shot inside the right goalpost to put the Heels ahead, 2-0. Kelly said after the game that despite the loss, the Longhorns did many things well against an exceptional team.
"I think we just allowed a service on the end line, and there was a bit of miscommunication at the back post,” Kelly said about the Tar Heels’ first goal. “For that one miscommunication, there were numerous other times we made the right choices. The game at the highest level is very practical and North Carolina just capitalized on each opportunity.”
For her part, Smith said part of her focus after giving up the goals was maintaining her focus moving forward.
"No one really likes getting scored on, but you’ve got to turn around and keep playing,” Smith said. “Goals happen in the game, and you have to move on from it and learn as a team and move forward.”
North Carolina enjoyed a lopsided 23-7 edge in shots, but the Longhorns had their chances to close the gap, which Kelly said could have ignited the crowd of 2,195.
"I would've loved for us to get one in the back of the net for these fans. Thank you to all of the fans. I thought the atmosphere was electric."
The Longhorns have little time to stew about the loss, as they have less than 48 hours to get ready for a Sunday showdown with No. 18 Ohio State.
"I thought we could have possessed the ball a little more,” Kelly said. “We gave away the ball too much, but we're going to reorganize and get ready for Sunday."