There’s a new top team in the Big 12 after the weekend, as Texas improved to a historic 10-0 for the first time in program history. The Longhorns claimed a pair of victories, beating Iowa State on Friday before a 1-0 shutout over former Big 12 champion West Virginia on Sunday afternoon.
After an 86-minute stalemate, sophomore forward Cyera Hintzen scored the game-winning point off of a feed from junior midfielder Katie Glenn. The win marks the first time Texas has defeated the Mountaineers since 2004, and it’s the first win over a ranked opponent in seven years.
“(Hintzen) is big-time,” head coach Angela Kelly said. “I mean she really is big-time. She finds a way every single game to impact the match.”
The two teams were evenly matched before the last three minutes, with players on both sides seeing a number of opportunities narrowly missed before Hintzen’s found the back of the net. A clutch save from sophomore goalie Nicole Curry on the other end as time expired sealed the win for the orange and white.
“I was actually kind of stunned I got into the box with so much time, since people usually are collapsing so fast,” Hintzen said. “But we also had a lot of great opportunities and I knew this one just needed to go back post.”
West Virginia is not a team accustomed to losing in conference play. Sunday’s game was the first defeat suffered by the program in a Big 12 regular-season match since the final game of the 2013 season. After the upset victory, the Longhorns are now favorites to finish the season as the top seed in the Big 12.
Sunday’s upset came off the heels of Texas’ conference season-opener against Iowa State on Friday night. In that contest, freshman forward Haley Berg collected her second game-winning goal of the season in another 1-0 victory.
That score came off a corner kick in the second half, when sophomore defender Emma Jett sent the ball to Berg on the right wing, who beat her first defender and moved left towards the middle. A pair of stop-and-go moves gave Berg the room to cut back inside, and she fired a left-footed laser over the fingertips of the Cyclones’ goalie.
“It’s always nice to start off with a clean slate with the Big 12, considering we didn’t do too well last year and every game is redemption for us,” Jett said. “We’re just focusing on one game at a time and taking it day-by-day.”
That one-game-at-a-time attitude has served the Longhorns well through 10 games. The win against West Virginia solidifies the program as one of the best in the nation. But with seven games still remaining in conference play, the Longhorns can’t afford to take the pedal off the gas anytime soon.
“On any given day, from top to bottom, our conference is one of the best in the country,” Kelly said. “It will be a battle every single time.”