Before Texas broke through, the game went scoreless for 70 minutes.
But in less than a minute, the Longhorns scored the two goals that propelled them to a 2-1 win over the Wildcats at Mike A. Myers Stadium on Sunday.
Before that, the Longhorns lived on Abilene Christian’s side of the field, attacking the Wildcats’ goal ferociously.
But Texas couldn’t get a clean shot or find the back of the net, and it looked as if Texas was in store for a third-straight overtime game in front of 334 fans — another game in which the Longhorns had opportunity after opportunity but had miss after miss.
“These are the types of games where you just have to will the ball in the back of the net and continue to stay consistent and persistent,” Kelly said. “I thought we did a good job of that. Certainly the two goals in the second half were great.”
In the first half, Texas came out firing.
“I think we came out with a mentality today, you know, to go for it, keep the ball and just look for the back of the net,” redshirt freshman forward Mikayla Flores said.
Texas looked for the back of the net like college kids look for fake IDs. The Longhorns had 17 shots in the first half, five above their shots per game average, and nine of those shots were on goal. But none of those shots could find the back of the net.
“Credit to [Abilene Christian’s goalkeeper Sydney Newton] that started the game,” Kelly said. “Tremendous saves, and made it really difficult for us to find the back of the net.”
Finding the back of the net was difficult — but not impossible.
On a free kick in the 69th minute, junior midfielder Julia Dyche lofted the ball towards the box. It settled on the head of senior midfielder Lindsey Meyer, and then landed in the goal to give Texas a 1-0 lead.
It was Meyer’s second-straight goal, after she scored on a penalty kick Thursday night against Oregon State. But this goal fit into Texas’ offensive scheme.
“We practice me being a target a lot,” said the 6-foot tall Meyer giggling.
On the goal, Newton hit her head on the left goal post after diving to save the ball. She cut herself near her right eye and did not return to the game.
Against a new goalkeeper and with the momentum, Texas kept attacking. One minute later, Flores scored her first career goal to give the Longhorns a 2-0 lead.
“Kelsey [Shimmick] played a great ball right to my feet,” Flores said. “And [I] just hit it in.
Flores’ goal ended up being the game winner, because Texas couldn’t maintain the shutout. In the 77th minute, a turnover on the defensive end gave the ball to Abilene Christian’s freshman midfielder Sophie Standifer, who fired the ball past senior goalkeeper Abby Smith to cut the deficit to 2-1.
“That was just a mishap in the back of midfield,” Kelly said. “But [I] really do want those shutouts for Abby Smith and our entire squad. But for Abby Smith I think she needs four more to have the record here at UT, and she is very deserving of achieving that. So we’re going to work our best to make sure she achieves that goal.”
Texas didn’t maintain a shutout, but the offensive performance was the best since 2014. Texas’ 26 shots were the most since Oct. 20 against Arkansas Little-Rock, when the Longhorns had 29. And the 14 shots on goal was the most since Sept. 5 of last year against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, when Texas had 14 shots on goal as well.
“I think we kept the ball really well,” Meyer said. “And our forwards did a good job of holding the ball and everyone played good balls.”
Because everyone played good balls, Texas played one of its best games.