The Longhorns took the field against UTSA on another hot evening in Austin in front of the largest crowd yet so far this season. Second half goals from Kristin Cummins and Vanessa Ibewuike propelled the Longhorns to a 2-0 victory over the visiting Roadrunners.
In the first half, the Longhorns appeared a bit flat compared with previous performances so far this season. The Horns did not pose much of a threat to the UTSA Roadrunners, and although they took 11 shots, just 3 were on goal with each of those being relatively easy saves by UTSA goalkeeper, Dacia Webb. In addition the Horns turned the ball over a number of times. Coach Petrucelli later called these “unforced errors” in his post-game interview.
For the first time so far this season, the Horns offense did not register a goal in the first 45 minutes of play.
On the defensive side of the ball, though, the Horns gave the Roadrunners almost nothing to work with. Chilean National Team player, Maria Jose Rojas, had the ball in the Texas box a couple of times but didn’t do much. Her first chance came at around the five minute mark directly in front of the Texas goal. Rojas elected to dribble instead of shoot but gave the ball away to a Texas defender. Her one shot on goal in the half came from an acute angle near the back line resulting in a relatively easy save for Texas goalkeeper, Alexa Gaul.
To recap the plays of the first half:
Texas had three corner kicks. Two were taken by Kylie Doniak, with one taken by Amanda Lisberger. Kylie’s first corner came at 6 minutes into the game. The serve in was headed away by a UTSA player out to Hannah Higgins who took blasted a shot into a UTSA defender.
Texas’ first shot on goal was a long, high lob from distance by Brooke Gilbert which was easily caught in open space by UTSA goalkeeper, Dacia Webb. Amanda Lisberger had a blasting shot three minutes later which was blocked by a Roadrunner defender.
Another chance in the half came with Hannah Higgins at the top of the box, but only getting a half shot off.
Probably the best chance of the first half occurred when Taylor Knaack had a cross to Kylie Doniak who one-timed the ball over the crossbar from about 15 yards out. Lexi Harris checked in at the 22 minute mark and took a shot wide a minute later.
Vanessa Ibewuike came into the game at 23rd minute for Taylor Knaack and took a blasting shot six minutes later which sailed just wide. A minute later, Doniak took another shot, just missing wide right.
Then, at the 34 minute, Vanessa Ibewuike got the ball on a breakaway and went in 1 on 1 with the UTSA keeper. Vanessa shot from close range. The ball deflected off Dacia Webb and just missed going into goal.
At the 35 minute mark, Stacey-Ann Smith checked in for Kylie Doniak. .. Kylie, in a great display of physical conditioning, finished with an enormous amount of time in the first half, going a good deal longer in the Texas heat than the Horns’ other starting forwards.
Amanda Lisberger took the final corner kick of the half for the Horns. Her serve found Lucy Keith in front who headed the ball over the top of the goal.
The last offensive chance of the half for the Horns came on a good run up field from Vanessa Ibewuike who crossed the ball to Stacey-Ann Smith. Stacey-Ann was only able to get off a soft shot, though, which was easily wrapped up by Dacia Webb.
While all of the above registered as stats on the scorer’s sheet, there really weren’t many threats posed by Texas in the first half. At times it seemed as if Texas might just be toying with the Roadrunners. Also the Horns gave the ball away quite a number of times in the offensive zone.
During the halftime break, though, Coach Petrucelli must have given the team a bit of a talking-to because they put on a much stronger performance in the second half.
The Second Half
In the second half, the Horns came out on fire. Great chances were generated in just the first five minutes. At two minutes in, Hannah Higgins crossed the ball into the goalmouth where Taylor Knaack one-timed the ball off the goalpost! So close to being Texas’s first score!
In the 54th minute, Hannah Higgins made a solo run from midfield and shot from the top of the box, with the ball centered on goal. Dacia Webb made the save.
Then at 60:12, our official player of the night checked in.
Vanessa Ibewuike, who had her greatest night so far as a Longhorn, dominated the offensive side of the ball for the Horns over the next thirty minutes. Over and over she kept charging into the offensive zone carrying the ball deep into the Roadrunners’ end.
Making one of several big runs in the second half, Vanessa took a shot on goal in the 67th minute that was blocked away by a UTSA defender. Less than a minute later, UTSA had their own chance when Anissa Munson hit a high, long shot on goal that skipped off the Texas crossbar.
Then, at the 72nd minute mark, Vanessa Ibewuike drew a penalty from a UTSA defender in the Roadrunners’ box. Nina Frausing Pedersen stood at the spot for the Horns. After a long wait for the referee to restart play, Nina fired her shot on goal to the left side. Dacia Webb guessed correctly and blocked the ball away on a lunging save. (See photo below from behind goal.)
After Webb’s save of the Longhorns’ best chance so far, Texas did not let up on their efforts. Two minutes later Kylie Doniak served in a corner kick directly into the front of the goal area where it deflected to Kristin Cummins. Kristin put the ball into the back of the net for the Horns’ first goal of the night.
At the 77th minute Vanessa Ibewuike made another run on goal, this time shooting just wide.
Three minutes later, from the other end, Alex Gaul passed the ball up to Hannah Higgins who ran it the length of the field. Higgins, after a speedy run, passed in to Ibewuike who fired a shot from the top of the box. The ball sailed into the back of the net for the Horns’ second goal of the night.
Vanessa took her final shot in the 87th minute. It was on goal but Dacia Webb made the save.
By game’s end, Vanessa Ibewuike had made a number of impressive runs on goal. She took 6 shots, 3 of which were saved by Dacia Webb, with one going in from the top of the box. Vanessa also drew the penalty which allowed for Pedersen to take the PK.
Regarding the overall level of play, Coach Petrucelli had this to say after the game. “I think when we look at film, we’re going to find a couple of things: one, we gave the ball away way too much. Like unforced errors and that sort of thing. I don’t know if we were totally tuned-in in the first half. We were better in the second half.”
Regarding her goal on the night, Vanessa Ibewuike credited her teammates.
“(Alexa Gaul) tried to find a pass that got to Hannah (Higgins), and Hannah worked hard to get it. She beat her player, and she crossed the ball early which allowed me to be alone pretty much in the box. … I hope they both get credited the assist on that one. It was a great job by both of them.”
As an experiment, a few short videos were shot both before and during the game. Those videos are available here: http://www.tout.com/u/texassoccer5
Our Three Stars of The Night
1. Vanessa Ibewuike (huge effort in the final 30 minutes)
2. Kristin Cummins (scored game winner!)
3. Kylie Doniak (assisted on game winner!)