The final score might show a dominant performance by No. 17 Texas, but the Longhorns’ victory Friday night was anything but easy.
Texas struggled to sustain any offensive rhythm because of the amount of pressure Kansas put on every possession throughout the entire game. Even with the return of Canadian freshmen Julia Grosso and Emma Regan, the Longhorns struggled to control possession and suffered several defensive breakdowns.
“We’re definitely going to look at those defensive moments that we can improve going into our next game,” Regan said.
Due to lapses on defense, goalkeeper Nicole Curry was busy all night, finishing the game with seven saves while recording her fifth shutout of the season.
Texas rarely gets outshot by its opponents, but the Jayhawks managed to do so against the Longhorns, 12-9, including 7-3 in shots on goal. The Jayhawks were physical all night, committing hard fouls on the Longhorns including a late challenge by Kansas midfielder Ceri Holland on Grosso, which resulted in a yellow card.
“It’s across the board in our conference. Every match has been physical from our opening match against Baylor,” said head coach Angela Kelly, whose squad remains undefeated at home this season. It’s just what you get used to.”
Midfielder Kayra Dollas’ penalty kick at the 24:35 mark gave the Longhorns much needed breathing room. However, Kansas didn’t back down and continued producing threatening attacks. Just as it looked like Kansas was about to break through the Texas defense, the second goal, driven by midfielder Haley Berg on a low cross from Alexa Adams at the 85:08 mark, put the game away.
“It was a battle.” Kelly said. “Really pleased of our resilience and perseverance to keep plugging away to get that second goal.”
Cyera Hintzen, who leads the Big 12 in goals, assists and points, had a wrap around her left thigh and finished the game with one shot attempt in 59 minutes of play. Defender Paige Hooper, who has played every game this season and is among the team leaders in minutes, did not play.
As Texas gears up for its last game at Mike A. Myers Stadium on Sunday at 1 p.m., against Kansas State, the Longhorns will need their players to be as healthy as possible. Although the team is banged up, Kelly believes her teams’ grit and fight will carry them through their injuries.
“We’re going to need everybody. There isn’t one player that’s 100 percent,” Kelly said. “It’s just a part of the game. If you’re 70 percent, your 70 percent wants to be someone else’s 70 percent as a whole, as a team.”