Texas heads west this weekend, in hopes that its winning percentage goes north.
The Longhorns travel to California to face the University of California-Santa Barbara on Friday at 9 p.m. CDT. Next, they will head 111 miles south for a date with No. 14 UC-Los Angeles on Sunday at 9 p.m. CDT.
The meeting with UCSB will be the first ever between the programs.
“UC-Santa Barbara is a fantastic team,” head coach Angela Kelly said after Texas’ game against Ohio State on Sunday.
The Gauchos enter the game with a 0-2-1 record. In three games this season, UCSB has scored only one goal and averages 10 shots a game.
Unfortunately, that isn’t much better than Texas’ standings. Through three games, Texas has scored one goal as well, and it averages 14 shots per game.
The Longhorns have not been able to celebrate an offensive goal this season, and Kelly attributes that to failure to capitalize when the shot presents itself. Regardless, Kelly said that Texas still needs to make the most of the chances it gets, because “you have to maximize your opportunity” when playing at such a high level.
In the game against UCLA, there may not be many opportunities.
“We’re going to have to be really well organized,” Kelly said. “We’re playing UCLA who won a national championship a few years ago.”
It’s been almost two years since UCLA won its first national championship and just under a year since the Bruins beat the Longhorns 1–0 in Austin.
The matchup against No. 14 UCLA marks the third ranked opponent that Texas has faced in its first five matches. That’s the most ranked opponents the Longhorns have faced in their first five games since 2004, when Texas faced three ranked teams to open up the season.
Had the Longhorns opening game against No. 22 Clemson not been canceled because of inclement weather, Texas would have faced four ranked opponents in its first five games — the most since 2002.
“We’re challenging ourselves tremendously at the beginning of this schedule,” Kelly said. “Therefore, the learning curve has to be expeditious.”