Texas was able to get away from Friday’s match with No. 6 Texas A&M with a tie, but the Longhorns will take much more than that going into Wednesday’s Big 12 tournament. The team showed once again it can play well against anyone in the country, and it’ll try to ride that confidence going into the tournament.
“We’re ready,” said Texas head coach Chris Petrucelli after the match. “We’ve talked all year long about continuing to get better, and we showed tonight that we have gotten better, and we’re ready to go.”
The Longhorns could use improvement on its finishing plays — Texas had the Aggies on its heels for most of the game but couldn’t finish chances late that could have won the game. Texas had three corner kicks in the final minute of regulation but couldn’t get a foot on the ball when it fell into the box.
The Longhorns will face Oklahoma on Wednesday, a rematch of last Sunday’s Red River Rivalry, where the Sooners were able to come up with a 2-1 win in double overtime. The Longhorns failed to score on some good chances in that game, too.
“We had some chances in that game, and I’d take that same game over,” Petrucelli said. “I feel we’d finish those chances, [given another opportunity].”
While scoring has been a bit of a problem lately for the Longhorns, defense has not. The back line has been playing exceptionally well lately, led by senior Erica Campanelli on the outside and junior Lucy Keith on the inside. In the last three games against the Aggies, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, Longhorn defenders have been matched up against some of the best players in the country and shut them down.
“We’re hard to score against, so we’re going to be in the game,” Petrucelli said. “And we were able to keep the ball in all three games, and any time we can keep the ball, we’re kind of dangerous.”
Texas likes to keep possession and move forward with the ball, and it was able to do so Friday against a more fast-paced Aggie squad. It showed that Texas doesn’t get rattled by playing big-time opponents and that it is good enough not to get flustered into playing a different style than what works for the team.
Texas is almost assured an at-large birth into the NCAA tournament, but for now it has its eyes set on the Big 12. Petrucelli said the team would approach it like it has approached games all season — one game at a time.
“We’re going in with the thought of winning it,” he said. “We’re going to compete in a tournament, and when you do that, you go to win championships.”