Texas is back on track, and the timing couldn’t be better. Undefeated through six overtimes this season, the team snapped a three-game slide with a 1-0 road win over Kansas State on Sunday.
It was freshman Haley Berg who saved the Longhorns again down the stretch. The forward stepped up in crunch time as she has all season, netting her first golden goal and third game-winner. With the victory, Texas avoided a fourth-consecutive winless performance after an upset loss on Friday at the hands of Kansas.
“We just needed to get our groove back,” Berg said. “And realize that we can do anything we put our minds to. Get back to how we started.”
Berg’s goal came from the edge of the box just two minutes into overtime. Off of the playmaking of teammate sophomore forward Cyera Hintzen, Berg got a clean look from 17 yards out and hammered it home just below the bar.
“Haley’s finish was fantastic,” head coach Angela Kelly said. “Just a very quality finish and a happy flight home.”
The weekend proved to be one of the most important of the season as Texas fights for conference seeding leading up to the Big 12 tournament. While the Longhorns looked calm and collected as they controlled the tempo for Sunday’s matchup — outshooting Kansas State 25-8 — Friday night at Kansas looked to be a continuation of a worrying trend.
Twelve straight wins came to a halt against Oklahoma the week prior, leading to back-to-back ties and a loss as the team’s youth began to show. Friday’s matchup proved to be the lowest point of the season thus far. Texas was outshot 15-3 in the second half, but could only watch as the Jayhawks ran away with it.
A first-half score from sophomore forward Mikayla Flores wasn’t enough. Neither were the five saves in the second half of the Kansas State game from sophomore goalie Nicole Curry. Texas gave up two goals in the second period, including a crucial winner with under eight minutes to play as Kansas defender Kayla Morrison iced it for her team with quick shot from six yards out off of a corner kick.
But the team bounced back against Kansas State. It took 92 minutes and some last-minute heroics, but Texas is back in the win column with two games left in the regular season. The Longhorns’ resurgence, avoiding what could have easily spiraled into a losing streak, reaffirms that Texas is a legitimate contender in the Big 12 conference.
“We regrouped yesterday,” Kelly said. “It was all about their response. As their head coach I am really proud of them and proud of that response.”