Lucy Keith, senior defender for the Horns after victory against TCU last night.
Texas came out on fire last night at Mike Myers Stadium in their preseason opener against TCU. The first twenty-five minutes were dominated by Texas with the Longhorns firing on all cylinders and scoring three goals
The scoring started at 16 minutes into the game with Lexi Harris banging in a ball that was bouncing around in front of the TCU goal. Taylor Knaack got the assist. Not on the scorecard, though, was the great effort setting up the goal by the super hustle of Amanda Lisberger at left back. Lisberger, one of the Horns’ top forward and midfield subs last year, has moved to a starting position on the back line this year. A shrewd move by Coach Petrucelli, this shift paid dividends immediately last night as Lisberger used her natural attacking skills to drive forward and set up the first goal of the game. It was at 15 minutes into the game that Lisberger took the ball in the defensive zone. Seeing an opening on the left side, she raced up the far sideline with a blast of speed before distributing the ball into TCU’s box. The ball bounced around among both Texas and TCU players with Taylor Knaack taking a shot on goal that was deflected back by the TCU goalkeeper. Lexi Harris then found the ball and banged it home.
Three minutes later, Kylie Doniak was given a chance to serve a couple of corner kicks in the offensive zone. The first was knocked over the backline by a TCU defender giving Kylie a second chance to zero in her aim. And the second corner didn’t disappoint. Kylie deftly served it right into the middle of the box where the Horns’ 6 foot tall veteran Lucy Keith banged it into the goal with a beautiful header. The goal was picture perfect and the serve from Doniak to Keith is exactly what the Horns hope to see as much as possible on corners this season.
After the restart, Taylor Knaack exploded with a couple of great breakaways which showcased her aggressive, attacking style. Although goals didn’t result, we are going to see a lot of exciting play from Knaack this year, and Horns fans are excited to see what she’s going to do in upcoming games.
At 23 minutes into the game, Lexi Harris had her own great run down the right side. Approaching goal from a sharp angle, Harris looked for crossing opportunities, then spied the TCU goalie cheating off the post. Harris unleashed a rocket that found the mark directly between the goalie and the post. The ball blasted by the TCU goalkeeper’s hands for Texas’ third and final goal of the night.
FINAL SCORE: Texas 3 - TCU 0
The starting lineup from last night:
- It looks like we have some serious scoring threats this year as well as a strong defensive line. One word: awesome!
- Lexi Harris’ two goals on the night are a great boost to her confidence! Go Lexi! Lexi’s got a great shot and she’s going to score plenty more great goals.
- Texas spent a lot of time in possession of the ball. I don’t have the time-of-possession stats, but they were great at controlling the ball out there. This is also a good confidence booster (and it’s always so great to see confidence boosters for the Horns). I’m just hoping that going up against Florida State this coming weekend doesn’t hurt any of our confidence. Although it’s only an exhibition game, I’m a little apprehensive about this one because I just want to see the team keep building with the confidence boosters. But after last night’s game Coach Petrucelli had this to say about facing Florida State next:
"It’s a great test. They are a great team. They possess the ball better than any other team in the country, so it’s going to be a challenge for us. We are going to be chasing the ball around a lot. We are going to have to be good when we have the ball, because we are probably not going to have it that much. I think what you saw tonight was that we can be effective in playing fast, and getting the ball forward. We are looking forward to it, and it will be fun."
- Leah Payne and Brooke Gilbert appear to be competing for a position at midfield while Clarissa Wedemeyer gets healthy. Wedemeyer, a freshman and our top midfielder recruit, I believe will most likely start when she gets back from injury.
- Hannah Higgins looked great dribbling around defenders and she pounded some sweet outside shots in the second half. Newcomer Allison Smith showed great ball skills too.
- As mentioned before, our back line rocks with Lucy Keith as our anchor. Nina Pedersen is just so solid as well, and we have Amanda Lisberger back there who can blast forward when the opportunity presents. And Julie Arnold, our freshman from Round Rock, is solid!
- I am pumped for the aggressive Taylor Knaack. She is going to be a great leader for us out there in front and will be scoring goals. Lexi Harris is in the house with two goals. Kylie Doniak, our top goal scorer from last year, is sure to light it up in front as well.
- The temperature outside was a 104 degrees during the game! Unbelievable. Can’t believe that the girls have to play in that kind of heat. (Hey, boosters, we need an indoor soccer stadium! :)
- Stacey-Ann Smith was one of the first subs off the bench and displayed flashes of her track star speed.
- At 30 minutes in, Allison Smith, Whitney Jaynes, Gabby Zarnegar, and Vanessa Ibewuike all subbed in. - Vanessa Ibewuike (pronounced "Ibu-wicki") is Texas’ other major transfer. She was selected as Big Ten All-Freshman Team while at Purdue in 2009. (More on Texas’ two transfers here in Chris Henderson's article at AWK.) Shortly after coming in, Ibewuike blasted a shot which cleared the crossbar but definitely displayed some serious power.
Taylor Knaack (below), one of our star forwards, after the game
Hannah Higgins (left) and fellow player after the game