Overtime losses are disappointing for any team. Double overtime losses hurt a little bit more. Texas soccer has had to cope with the latter after losing to West Virginia last Sunday.
“This game is just going to be a bummer,” head coach Angela Kelly said. “It’s going to hurt for a little bit because we were knocking on the door so often.”
However, the Longhorns will get the chance to rest and recover in the next few weeks as the next three matches will take place over the course of the next 16 days. After an early season schedule that had the team playing two matches every week for over a month, this is a welcome change of pace.
“That will be great to get everybody as close to back to 100% as possible,” Kelly said.
While the rest is a positive thing for the team, the wait to avenge the heartbreaking loss to the Mountaineers will come to an end this Friday against the Oklahoma State Cowgirls.
Like Texas, Oklahoma State has had a positive start to conference play. After losing to Texas Tech in Lubbock, they were able to grind out a draw against TCU and beat both Kansas and Kansas State in relatively high-scoring affairs.
Keeping recent Big 12 Best winners freshman midfielder Olyvia Dowell and sophomore midfielder Grace Yochum in check will be imperative for the Longhorn backline. Recent performances, such as the effort against West Virginia, serve as a point of optimism that the defense should be up to the task.
“I think the backline has been doing fantastic,” Kelly said. “(West Virginia has) some dynamic frontrunners, and I thought we contained them pretty well. All the players, they gave everything, so it’s not from a lack of effort, lack of will. It’s just poor execution on a poor set piece at the end. That’s something, fortunately, that we can fix.”
The Longhorns will also receive a boost with the return of sophomore midfielder Julia Grosso, who was in Japan this past weekend with the Canadian National Team. Grosso’s absence moved junior Haley Berg down to the midfield and gave players such as redshirt junior Cydney Billups, sophomore Mackenzie McFarland, and freshman Sydney Nobles more creation responsibility. While the team performed admirably in her absence, the players are happy to have one of their leaders back on the pitch.
“Julia is a big part of the team and she helps a lot, but I think everyone on our team, whoever comes off the bench, is able to help and produce and contribute in some way, shape or form,” Berg said. “We do miss Julia. Obviously, she has a big role in the middle, but I think we adjusted really well considering she’s been gone and we’re just excited for her to get back.”
The game will start at 7 p.m. at the Mike A. Myers Stadium and Soccer Field.