Lexi Harris

Here are three keys Texas needs to focus on to beat Texas Tech.

Get better play from midfield:

In Texas’ last loss of the season — 3-0 against Texas A&M — the Aggies controlled the game from start to finish, and it was the first time the Longhorns had lost by two or more goals since their first game this season. To respond and beat Texas Tech, the midfield must play better. The team relies too much on wingers Hannah Higgins and Vanessa Ibewuike to attack opposing defenses, which leads to it having little to no possession in the middle of the attacking third. Midfielders Kristin Cummins and Lexi Harris need to step up and attack the Raiders’ defense by possessing the ball up the middle. If they are able to do this, there will be more space for Ibewuike and Higgins to attack opposing defenders.

Get more numbers in the box:

Even if the Longhorns are able to create space for Higgins and Ibewuike to attack defenders one on one, Texas still struggles to get multiple players in the box. Numerous times against the Aggies and other Big 12 teams, Texas has only had one player on the box trying to get on the end of a Higgins/Ibewuike cross. This leaves little opportunity for the one player, usually Kylie Doniak, to score since three defenders are marking them. If Higgins is crossing the ball, Ibewuike must attack the far post and vice-versa. Also, midfielders Harris, Cummins and Brooke Gilbert must push into the middle of the box. With more numbers in the box, the crosser will have more targets to pick out a teammate and multiple defenders will no longer be able to mark Doniak.

Penalty kicks:

Now that the Longhorns are participating in the Big 12 tournament, the unpopular penalty kicks will come into play. The good news is at the end of practice on Monday the team practiced penalties and the majority of the Longhorns looked confident from the spot kick.

Printed on Wednesday, November 2, 2011 as: Keys to the Game - Soccer