20 Sep

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Women’s soccer settles for tie after dominating Little Rock

Senior goalkeeper Abby Smith is just two short of the Texas record for career shutouts (photo courtesy of texassports.com).

Senior goalkeeper Abby Smith is just two short of the Texas record for career shutouts (photo courtesy of texassports.com).

By Steve Lansdale

AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas women’s soccer team dominated every statistical category Sunday against Little Rock except the one that matters the most — the score — and ended up battling to a 0-0 tie in double overtime. (Continued below)

(Continued from above) With the tie, the Longhorns extended to four their unbeaten streak as they prepare to begin Big 12 play Friday at West Virginia.

The Longhorns enjoyed a 29-6 edge in shots — Mikayla Flores outshot the Trojans by herself, firing eight shots at the opposing goal, while Hayra Dollas matched the ULR total with six shots of her own. UT also claimed a 10-3 advantage in corner kicks.

“We created opportunities, and (what Little Rock did) was play a classic ‘bunker game,’” Texas head coach Angela Kelly said. “You need to be able to combine (passes). I have said this over the last little stretch: we have to organize and put the ball in the back of the net. We are creating plenty of opportunities; 29-6 in shots and 10-3 in corners, and their goalkeeper made eight saves. Now we want to make sure that we make one of those count.”

Texas senior Abby Smith turned away four shots on goal to collect her 27th career shutout. She now stands just two shy of tying Dianna Pfenninger’s school career record of 29.

Kelly said that Little Rock, like many opponents, saw Texas as a marquee opponent and raised its level of play against the ’Horns, which is what she expects from any team facing UT.

“Here at Texas, we are going to get everybody’s great game, their best game,” Texas head coach Angela Kelly said. “Their goalkeeper did a heck of a job. I feel like I have been saying that for a while now — that is what happened last week, as well. That is where our attention to detail has to be maximized, and out of those 29 shots and those eight saves, what can be different about that? Could we have concentrated a little bit better?

“I thought we wasted a lot of opportunities with off-balance shots and poor decision making with the final pass at times, and they wanted the game to be slow, so we needed a way to keep the ball on the field to play and keep it.”

Kelly said she was pleased with her team’s effort, but said the Longhorns have to figure out a way to make those offensive chances translate into goals.

“Yeah, I mean that is the style of play, and that is the way we want to play,” she said. “Our players know that. The game of soccer can be very cruel. I am not displeased with the effort, I just need the execution to be more focused and figure out how to put the ball in the back of the net. That is part of the game and we need to do it better.”