Brooke Gilbert

Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

Texas soccer’s first NCAA tournament game since 2011 ended with a comfortable 3-0 win over the Conference USA champion, Rice Owls. But now the Longhorns will travel to College Station for their next challenge — a matchup against the No. 12 Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Friday. 

The Longhorn attack launched a three-goal barrage last week, but the Texas offense will be hard pressed to replicate that feat against the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame’s stalwart sophomore goalkeeper Kaela Little has been solid behind the Notre Dame backline, shutting out the opposition in 12 of the 19 contests she has played in this season.

“We just know that when we get our opportunities, we will have to put them away,” senior defender Brooke Gilbert said. “We’ve played against many good goalkeepers this season.”

Fortunately for the Longhorns, freshman forward Olivia Brook looks ready to lead the Texas offense into a tough stretch of games. The team’s leading goal scorer kicked off her debut campaign by scoring five goals in five games before dropping into obscurity and scoring only one more regular season goal.

Brook, however,  has looked as good as advertised her last couple of outings. Brook tapped in a goal against Rice and came very close to scoring two more in the Big 12 Championship tournament.

On the other side of the ball, the veteran Texas backline will be well-equipped to deal with the Notre Dame offense. The Texas defense lived up to challenges against No. 1 UCLA and No. 7 West Virginia and has conceded just one regulation goal in three tough postseason games.

The Longhorn midfield,  however, could be the most essential unit in halting the Irish attack Friday. Texas head coach Angela Kelly referred to Morgan Andrews, Notre Dame midfielder and assist leader, as an “engine in the midfield.” Given enough time, the sophomore has the talent to pick apart the Longhorn defense.

However, Longhorn midfielder Sharis Lachappelle looks like the Longhorn most suited for the challenge. The senior has used her physical play to her advantage this season, even earning a caution or two along the way.  

If No. 3 Texas A&M is able to knock off Arizona  at 7 p.m. Friday, a potential Sunday matchup between the old Texas foes is an enticing prospect for those who know the history of the rivalry.

“I haven’t played against them since my freshman year, so I’m really excited that there’s the potential that we get to play them again,” Gilbert said. “It’s in our blood, that rivalry. Any time Texas gets to play Texas A&M again, it’s awesome.”

Texas will have to get through another top-15 team in order to face the Aggies, but a pair of wins over a highly ranked Texas Tech team and close games against UCLA and West Virginia have shown that the Longhorns have the ability to compete with the best in the nation.

Extending Texas’ lead to 2-0, junior forward Chantale Campbell scored in the final minute against Montana.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

Head coach Angela Kelly wanted to see her team play at a higher tempo and put the ball in the back of the net against A&M Corpus Christi and Montana.

Kelly got what she wanted Friday as the Longhorns (4-0-2) launched a 6-0 barrage against A&M Corpus Christi to remain unbeaten this season.

The Longhorns did not get on the scoreboard until a free kick by senior defender Brooke Gilbert found junior midfielder Lindsey Meyer eight yards from goal at 32:58 into the match, but a five-goal second half alleviated any concerns about the Texas attack.

The Longhorns carried the momentum back home Sunday with a 2-0 win against Montana. The Longhorns launched 23 shots to Montana’s six and kept fantastic possession in their opponent’s territory. A second-half penalty kick by Gilbert and a long goal in the final minute by junior forward Chantale Campbell drove the offense.

Texas’ next competition comes this weekend at the USF Soccer Classic in Tampa, Florida, with a game Friday at 3:30 p.m. against Central Florida and a matchup Sunday at 10:30 a.m. against South Florida.

Texas set for the Lone Star State showdown

The Longhorns head to Fort Worth on Wednesday for the ITA Texas Regional Championship. Schools from all over Texas will compete to prove who the best of the Lone Star State is.

This event gives senior Elizabeth Begley a chance to make up for her quick exit two weeks ago in Los Angeles. The Houston native failed to win a match in her first appearance of the season.

At last year’s Texas Regional, Begley advanced to the Round of 32 before Rice’s Natalie Beazant eliminated her in
straight sets.

Junior Annat Rabinovich, another native of Houston, lost in the first round of the main draw last year but won two straight matches and advanced to the quarterfinals of the
consolation bracket.

Competitive performances against teams from around Texas — including Big-12 rivals Texas Tech and Baylor — over the next five days could give an indication of what the season will look like for Texas.

“We’re going to have an incredible lineup for sure,” Rabinovich said. “I think we’re going to do really well, maybe just as good as or even better than
last year.” 

—Chris Caraveo

 

Brooke Gilbert earns Big 12 weekly honor

Junior defender Brooke Gilbert was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week on Tuesday after her performance in the Longhorns’ 2-1 win over Baylor last week. The award is the first of Gilbert’s career. Gilbert played in her 14th career-complete game and buoyed the Longhorns’ effectiveness on defense as the team held Baylor scoreless for 86 minutes. On the offensive side of the ball, Gilbert narrowly missed heading in a goal on a corner kick in the 48th minute of the match.  

Gilbert has played in all but 10 minutes for the Longhorns this season while also scoring four goals on offense. 

Soccer

Senior Kylie Doniak and the rest of Longhorns will take on Texas Tech today in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Doniak was also recently named to the first team All-Big-12 Team along with eight of her teammates, with two more being selected for the second team.

Photo Credit: Kiersten Holms | Daily Texan Staff

Though the regular season is over, there is still work to be done. The Longhorns (10-7-1, 3-4-1) will play in San Antonio today for the first round of the Big 12 Tournament.

“Our whole mindset has been to start strong, finish stronger,” said senior Kylie Doniak. “We’re ready for the tournament, we’re ready to finish the season strong.”

Texas is seeded No. 5 in the eight-team tournament. Oklahoma State, the No. 2 team in the nation, is the top seed in the tourney, while Iowa State didn’t qualify for it and Kansas State does not field a varsity team. It looks like it will be a difficult road ahead for the Longhorns.

“The Big 12 tournament is difficult. Every team can play,” said Texas head coach Chris Petrucelli. “It doesn’t matter where you are seeded, all the teams are quality teams so every game is a hard game.”

The last time Texas and Texas Tech met up, the Longhorns fell to the Red Raiders 3-2 in a lengthy double-overtime contest on the road.

Accolades were handed out this week across the Big 12 just in time for the tournament. Despite finishing fifth in the Big 12 and unranked in the country, the Longhorns are well represented across the board.

Freshman Brooke Gilbert and senior transfer Taylor Knaack were two of 11 athletes named to the Big 12 All-Newcomer squad for their contributions to their teams. Gilbert was one of only two freshmen to start every game this season — her lone goal of the season secured the 1-0 Longhorn victory over Seattle University last month.

Knaack, who started at forward all season before an injury sidelined her, had five assists and three goals on the season. Her quick feet secured the Longhorns’ victories against both Cal State Northridge and Georgia.

Academically, Texas has significant representation on all conference teams. Nine Longhorns were selected for the Academic All-Big 12 Team with nine on the first team and two on the second. Senior forward Kylie Doniak has earned a spot on the first team for the last three years and junior Kristin Cummins was also named to the first team for the second time.

Finally, juniors Alexa Gaul and Hanna Higgins, along with sophomores Lexi Harris and Nina Frausing-Pederson, were named to the All-Big 12 second team. Gaul was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week earlier this season and has established herself in the Texas record books with a spot at No. 2 in career shutouts. 

Printed on Wednesday, November 2, 2011 as: Texas opens Big 12 tournament against Tech

Soccer

Freshman Brooke Gilbert slides for the ball against Texas Tech. Gilbert scored her first goal as a Longhorn on Sunday off of an assist from Kylie Doniak.

Photo Credit: Zachary Strain | Daily Texan Staff

Texas wasted no time putting the ball in the back of the net Sunday against Seattle University. The only problem was that the first time didn’t count.

But the Longhorns, now 10-6-1, wouldn’t be denied as they used a second-half goal from freshman midfielder Brooke Gilbert to beat the Redhawks, 1-0, at Mike A. Myers Stadium.

Just four minutes into the match, Longhorns forward Kristin Cummins blasted a shot from outside the penalty box that Redhawks goalkeeper Madison Goverde kept out, but the save fell right at the feet of junior Vanessa Ibewuike who calmly put it in the back of the net. Problem was, Ibewuike was called offside.

After that, Texas struggled to build up any momentum on offense during the first half and went into the locker room tied 0-0.

“I think in the first half, we did a good job of keeping the ball,” said senior forward Kylie Doniak. “We were a little bit afraid to move forward and kind of put our attack on them. So once we started getting in the mindset of going to get a goal, it changed the attack a little bit, and then we were keeping possession to get to goal.”

Doniak, who had a header hit the crossbar in the 67th minute, has been limited by a knee injury but played her most minutes on Sunday since Sept. 11, when she played 82 minutes against Southern California.

It was also Doniak’s corner kick in the 73rd minute that landed at the feet of Gilbert, who in traffic was able to kick the ball into the bottom right corner of the goal before Seattle’s Goverde could recover it.

“The play right before, I almost got one so I was just really eager to get the next one,” said Gilbert, a Snohomish, Wash., native. “It was really exciting. My first goal against my hometown and a few of my friends, so that’s always nice.”

The game proved to one of firsts for Gilbert as she started on defense for the first time this season after starting all 16 games at midfielder. Despite being nervous, the rookie was up to the challenge.

“I’ve played in the back before with the national team a few times, so it wasn’t too bad,” Gilbert said. “I just knew that I needed to stay focused and just play safe and get the job done.”

Gilbert became the Longhorns’ third freshman starter on the back line, after usual starting central defender Nina Frausing Pedersen was asked to play forward for the first time because of injuries to other strikers.

Sunday’s match showcased again just how much young talent Texas has, as five rookies started for Texas head coach Chris Petrucelli, and a total of seven freshmen saw the field.

“I don’t know if they could have done any better,” Petrucelli said of his freshmen defensive starters. “[Seattle] didn’t get a goal, so I was happy and confident in the way that they played. I felt like Brooke did quite well for us dropping into the center back, and I’m proud of them.”

Up next for the Longhorns is their regular season against rival Texas A&M on Sunday in Austin before traveling to San Antonio to kick off the Big 12 tournament on Wednesday.

“It’s really good to have a good win and have that going into Texas A&M because that’s a big game that we need to win,” Gilbert said.