Of course Texas won.
Everything the Longhorns went through this season — five losses, four ties, a tough Big 12 schedule and a more daunting nonconference schedule — built to a 3-0 win over Montana on Friday night at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
“I think the whole season has led up to this kind of performance,” senior forward Kelsey Shimmick said. “Especially going into Big 12s.”
Twenty minutes before kickoff, Texas honored 10 seniors for Senior Night. Head coach Angela Kelly was at the forefront of the celebrations. This was her first recruiting class, and she’s watched them grow.
“There was a ton of emotion, certainly for me,” Kelly said. “This senior class means so much to me.”
It was only fitting that two seniors scored, one achieved a personal milestone and another set a Texas record.
Shimmick scored six minutes into the game to give the Longhorns a 1-0 lead. Freshman forward Alexa Adams extended Texas’ lead after 51 minutes. Then, in her final home game, senior defender Brinkley Field scored her first career goal — Texas’ last home goal of the season.
“Lots of feel-goods, lots of things we can reflect back on,” Kelly said.
Senior goalkeeper Abby Smith went into the match with 29 career shutouts. She needed 30 for the Texas record, and she achieved it after 90 minutes.
“It’s awesome,” Smith said. “It’s a great thing to have, but I wouldn’t be able to have it without the girls that are on the field in front of us and the coaching staff.”
She’s always recognized and credited her teammates for her accomplishments. It was clear why, when with 28:11 left in the game, Smith deflected a shot from Montana freshman forward Dani Morris, but the ball popped up and headed for the goal.
Smith wasn’t in position to save it. In that instant, the shutout record was about to bounce away as the ball headed toward the goal, but senior defender Ali Schmalz headed the ball away from the goal to help maintain the shutout.
“After, I mentioned congratulations to Abby,” Kelly said. “I also made a point of saying, ‘For the rest of the time that Abby holds that record, Ali Schmalz, you’re going to be sitting wherever you are, and everybody is going to understand Abby Smith doesn’t have that without you.”
Late in the game, at 80:58, Field netted her first career goal to put the Longhorns up 3-0.
“It’s really emotional because this has been our home,” Smith said. “It’s something no one else can experience if you’re not here, so this place has been our home, and it’s always sad when you have to move forward, but it’s been a great ride.”