Taylor Knaack

Forward Hannah Higgins takes a shot during the LonghornsÂ’ game against Big 12 opponent Iowa State on Sunday.

Photo Credit: Zachary Strain | Daily Texan Staff

The Texas forwards hoped to compensate for the lack of rain in Austin by watering the field at Mike A. Myers Stadium with sweat and tears. After a disappointing 1-0 loss at home to Baylor in their conference season opener, the Longhorn’s front three led an aggressive attack Sunday against the Iowa State Cyclones.

“Iowa State is definitely a physical team,” said junior forward Hannah Higgins. “We’ve known coming into the game and so was Baylor. We knew we had to come out and be more aggressive if we were going to keep up with them. We had to compete a little bit more ... I think we show[ed] what our offense is capable of.”

Goals by senior forward Taylor Knaack and sophomore defender Nina Frausing Pedersen led the Longhorns to a 2-1 win against an equally aggressive Iowa State team.

Knaack and Higgins, along with junior forward Vanessa Ibewuike, came out strong and combined for nine shots, four on goal, that contributed to a team total of 17 shots. The forwards outplayed their Cyclone counterparts who had six team shots total.

“After Friday’s loss, we knew we had to come out strong, and I think it showed in the first 10 minutes or so,” Higgins said. “We were just down there shooting, and we kept shooting. We knew we needed to get goals today to get the result.”

With the loss of senior center forward Kylie Doniak to an injury last week, Texas head coach Chris Petrucelli has had to reorganize his offense. Petrucelli centered his scheme around Doniak’s footwork, leadership and her ability to control the ball. With Doniak on the bench, Ibewuike has been thrust into a starting role and has had to step up, along with Knaack and Higgins,
to compensate.

“We just all have to take on extra responsibility and have had to work extra hard,” Knaack said. “All three of us forwards have had to take on the role in the middle, switch positions every 10-15 minutes with a new person. In the middle, your job is just to hold it and distribute. We are just trying to work together.”

Both Knaack and Higgins have started all season up front, but this weekend marked Ibewuike’s first two starts of the season. Her constant and unrelenting attack throughout the game paid off and helped to stabilize the front line.

“Vanessa has just stepped right in and work[ed] with the team and has just been great,” Knaack said.

Against the Cyclones, Ibewuike had one assist on the Longhorn’s second score of the game, a goal in the 79th minute by Knaack. Ibewuike took control of the ball and surged past several defenders before passing to Knaack who knocked it in.

“Vanessa worked really hard to get down to the in-line,” Knaack said. “She basically did all the work; I was just there to finish.”

Higgins, Knaack and Ibewuike proved today that they may have the aggression it takes to survive in Big 12 conference play, even without the performance of their star forward. 

Printed on Monday September 26, 2011 as: Offense finds way to score

Texas got strong performances across the board in its 5-1 win against Cal State Northridge, but none of them were as strong as Kylie Doniak’s.

The senior had an assist and two goals in reduced time because of the heat on Sunday.

“We’re really close and have good chemistry and know where each other are going,” Doniak said.

Texas got on the board early with a goal in the 12th minute with Doniak providing the assist. She started the play by taking the ball to the end line and laying a cross in front of the keeper for senior Taylor Knaack to finish.

“Kylie actually did the work, really did the work for the ball,” said Texas head coach Chris Petrucelli. “She pressured the ball, won the ball, got out to end line, hit it back across to Taylor. It was a great effort by Kylie.”

Texas took a 2-0 lead into the half and came out with the same kind of offensive intensity that it started the game with. In the 47th minute of the game, Doniak received a pass from junior Hannah Higgins and took a 25-yard shot with no one around her.

“I had just been wanting to shoot the ball,” Doniak said. “Sounds crazy, but I had just been dying for that shot outside of the 18.”

The shot was nearly perfect, placed in the top corner of the goal, and the keeper was caught out of position, with no chance to stop it.

“When I saw that opportunity, I wasn’t going to pass it up,” Doniak said.

Northridge followed that with its first goal of the season 14 seconds later. With the lead at 3-1, and momentum shifting to Northridge, Doniak stepped up and gave Texas control of the game again.

Knaack received a pass up the sideline, beat her defender and lobbed a cross into the box. From there, all Doniak had to do was win her one-on-one with the only defender in the box to put the ball in the net.

“It went my way today,” Doniak said, who now has four goals in four games. She is already half way to her season total of last year, where she totaled seven goals and has been a major part of Texas’ offensive explosion that has produced 11 goals in
three games. 

Printed on Monday, August 29, 2011 as: Kylie Doniak leads Texas to victory with two goals.