Texas opens conference play with back-to-back shutouts

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One week after finishing its nonconference schedule strongly, Texas began conference play the same way. A dominant 4-0 win against Iowa State followed by a 1-0 win over Oklahoma sealed an outstanding opening weekend for the Longhorns.

After having five scoreless first halves in the early portion of the season, Texas got on the board early against Iowa State with two goals within three minutes of each other in the first half. Sharis Lachappelle got the scoring started in the 14th minute with an assist from Hannah Higgins. Lachappelle set up a goal for Kristin Cummins to put Texas up 2-0 in under 20 minutes.

“We have to be very advantageous in every situation,” Texas head coach Angela Kelly said. “I thought we did a good job taking of our opportunities tonight.”

Texas took 14 shots to Iowa State’s 10, while forcing five more corner kicks against the Cyclones in a physical game that saw 31 fouls between the two teams.

Nursing a two goal lead, Texas put the game away later in the half with two goals from Lindsey Meyer in the 29th and 40th minute with the assists from Gabby Zarnegar.

In the net, Abby Smith pitched a shutout in her first Big 12 game, registering four saves.

On Sunday, Texas had a much closer game against the Sooners. Lachappelle logged her fourth goal of the season in the 9th minute in what would be the only goal in the game. The deciding goal came off of one of Texas’ four corner kicks with Zarnegar connecting with Lachapelle for a header.

“Set pieces are a huge part of the game of soccer,” Kelly said. “We have to have structure within how we play.”

After suffering through a four game stretch where they were outscored 11-1, The Longhorns have settled into a groove and outscored their last four opponents 11-3.

The wins extend Texas’ unbeaten streak to four games, and have put it at the top of the conference with six points. West Virginia also had two wins over the weekend creating a tie for first place with Kansas three points behind. Oklahoma State suffered two losses to begin its conference slate and are now facing an uphill battle to repeat as conference champions. Texas will host Oklahoma State Oct. 5 in what could be a season defining game for the Longhorns.