In the first 383 minutes of the season, Texas could muster only one goal.
That lone goal came from their goalkeeper Abby Smith in the first game of the season. The player notorious for stopping goals was Texas’ only offense through four games.
Four minutes into what became a 2–1 upset over No. 8 UCLA at Drake Stadium on Sunday night, what had seemed impossible for the Longhorns finally happened.
Senior forward Kelsey Shimmick received a through ball from senior defender Ali Schmalz and gave Texas an early 1–0 lead.
“Probably one of the best feelings ever,” an exuberant Shimmick said after the game. “To just come in and right at the beginning score on a team that’s high ranked and show them that we’re here to play.”
One goal wasn’t enough for Texas. They needed two, with Smith finishing the game with a career-high 11 saves.
In the 61st minute, freshman forward Alexa Adams wrestled the ball away from a Bruins defender. The defender fell and in a domino effect knocked down goalkeeper Cassie Sternbach to leave the goal and Adams’ eyes wide-open.
Adams’ goal gave Texas a 2–0 thing lead and it was Adams’ first career goal.
“Once it went in — I don’t know, my face literally just dropped,” Adams said. “I was so excited, I was like ‘oh my gosh, I just scored!’”
The Bruins’ powerful offense wouldn’t get shutout. They cut the lead to 2–1 in the 76th minute after junior midfielder Lauren Kaskie fired a ball over the outstretched arms of Smith. In the last 14 minutes of the game, Smith was all over the field trying to preserve Texas' lead. And she did.
“It’s all about how you respond, and after Friday night that was disappointing for us, it was really important for me that we have a really positive response,” Kelly said. “I thought the difference was that we put away our chances early and we were able to hang on at the end.”
The win came at a key time for Texas. Kelly has stated repeatedly that these matches are meant to get them ready for conference play. The win is a huge confidence booster for Texas, especially after losing 2–0 Friday night to an inferior University of California-Santa Barbara team.
“I think it shows us that we can compete with anyone in the nation and that when we come out and play as a team anything’s possible,” Shimmick said. “It shows that hopefully we can pull off a Big 12 championship.”
Texas goal of a Big 12 crown is hundreds of minutes away. But if they do pull it off, they can look back at the fourth minute of this game as the beginning of the run.