Texas kicked off its 2016 season under partly cloudy skies at Mike A. Myers Stadium Friday night.
What seemed like an innocuous night for a soccer match turned dangerous — lightning strikes in the Austin area forced all stadium goers to evacuate and seek shelter in the first half.
A one-hour weather delay ensued, but the stormy weather came only after senior Brie Hooks of the visiting Seattle RedHawks buried a shot from 15 yards out in the 17th minute.
Her tally stood as the game winner as Texas failed to find the back of the net and dropped its season opener, 1-0.
“We allowed them to feel like they could play with us,” Texas head coach Angela Kelly said. “[But] to their credit, Seattle did extremely well.”
After both teams felt each other out in the game’s first 15 minutes, Seattle pushed the tempo up field and caught the Texas defense by surprise.
Hooks received a through-ball from junior midfielder Jennifer Plummer down the middle of the field. The forward dribbled the ball inside the penalty box and fired a shot over the outstretched hands of Longhorn senior goalkeeper Cara Connaster.
“They found a free player at midfield and she attacked the backline,” Kelly said. “It was a good finish.”
Texas tried to answer moments later when sophomore midfielder Nakia Graham launched a shot from outside the box that ricocheted off the extended arm of the RedHawks’ goalkeeper, resulting in a Longhorn corner kick.
The ensuing corner was put dangerously into the box by freshman defender Emma Jett, but the RedHawks blocked a Texas shot and the Longhorn threat was thwarted.
Texas had plenty more missed opportunities. The Longhorns outshot Seattle by a 17-10 margin, but only one of their shots was on target.
“You have to just break that seal,” Kelly said. “We created some good looks. Somebody has to take that responsibility on their shoulders and go ahead and tuck one away.”
Graham did all she could to try to break the seal Kelly spoke of. She headed a ball toward the Seattle net to register the first and only shot on target for the Longhorns with under 15 minutes left in the match.
But it was too little, too late for Texas and Kelly. The Longhorn skipper will have to wait until next week to have another shot at securing her 200th career victory as a head coach.
“This is a tough result but we’re going to reorganize,” Kelly said. “The fortunate thing is it’s very early and we have [seven] days to prepare for our next match. The season’s still young.”