Matching the longest undefeated streak in program history is usually cause for celebration. But the No. 7 Longhorns stayed solemn after another lackluster performance earned the team its second-straight tie on Friday evening at the Mike A. Myers Stadium.
“They were a little flat tonight,” head coach Angela Kelly said. “So that’s my job as the head coach: to regroup, organize and to figure out why.”
The 1-1 tie marks the third-consecutive overtime match for Texas. The Longhorns have excelled this season during extra minutes, but missed the offensive firepower of their star player, sophomore forward Cyera Hintzen, against the Horned Frogs. The team’s leading scorer logged only 53 minutes before exiting the game as a precautionary measure due to a leg tweak. The result of Hintzen’s absence was a stagnant offensive attack, one that didn’t register a single shot during either overtime period.
“You (Hintzen) can’t be one of the best players in the country and your team not miss your presence,” Kelly said. “But we have a lot of talented players. It gave a platform for others to step up.”
And for most of the contest, it looked like the rest of the Longhorns would.
Texas’ only goal came in the first half off of a set piece, as sophomore defender Emma Jett sent a shot high and deep off a corner kick from the right side. The left-footed delivery soared to the opposite side of the goal, directly to the waiting head of junior midfielder Kayra Dollas, who hammered it home from a yard out.
From there it looked like the Longhorns would be able to defend their way to victory. For the next 48 minutes, neither team was able to earn an advantage. Until, with just under six minutes left in regulation, Texas’ lead disappeared. TCU midfielder Karitas Tomasdottir found the back of the net off an errant ricochet, and the crowd of more than 1,700 readied for what they hoped would be Texas’ fourth golden goal.
“We didn’t have as many open opportunities for some people because they were pressing us so hard,” Dollas said. “I think that them pressing us so high up on the field made it not as easy for us to get down the field.”
Instead of another golden goal, the Longhorns ended Friday’s contest in a tie. Now, the young team readies for a slate of road games with a question mark surrounding Hintzen’s health and two substandard efforts just past the midseason mark. But still no losses.
Texas remains one of only three teams in the nation still unbeaten, sitting alone atop the Big 12 conference standings. And as the end of the season nears and teams grow more desperate for a win, Texas looks as vulnerable as it has been all season.
“The bullseye is going to continue to get bigger,” Kelly said. “It’s our job as a staff to help our young players to accept, understand and surpass that.”