Texas took down Texas Tech today on a beautiful but windy day in the First Round of the Big 12 Tournament in San Antonio. The final score was 1-0 for Texas with the Longhorn goal coming from Kristin Cummins at 10:51 with an assist by Kylie Doniak.
A hugely impressive stat for Texas in this game was the shots-on-goal percentage. Incredibly, Texas put 70% of its shots on goal, the highest shots-on-goal percentage of the year. No other game has come close in that statistic.
Texas is currently without the services of Amanda Lisberger and Nina Frausing Pedersen on the defensive line. While Lisberger injured her knee earlier in the season and is out for the year, Pedersen sprained her knee just days ago in the game against A&M and is expected to be out through Friday. Freshman Whitney Jaynes took over for Lisberger at left back a number of games ago, and today’s game saw freshman Brooke Gilbert fill in for Pedersen at center back. Gilbert did a superb job of moving from the defensive midfield position she normally occupies back to the rear guard.
Completing the back line for Texas were freshman Julie Arnold at right back with the iron woman of the team, Lucy Keith, at center back.
The starters at midfield were Kristin Cummins, Clarissa Wedemeyer, and Lexi Harris. Starting up top at forward were Hannah Higgins, Kylie Doniak, and Vanessa Ibewuike.
Immediately after kickoff, Texas had the first shot on goal with a soft chip by Kristin Cummins which was easily caught by Texas Tech’s sophomore keeper, Victoria Esson. From just nine yards out, Cummins appeared to softly lob the ball right at the keeper as if she were trying to get warmed up instead of blasting her shot. It was an odd moment considering how close she was to goal. Moments later, though, Cummins would have a much better finish.
At 11 minutes into the game, Kylie Doniak served in a beautiful cross which found Cummins eight yards out from Tech’s goal. Cummins hit a picture perfect header directly into the left side of the Texas Tech goal. Speaking about the goal after the game, Cummins said, “I saw the keeper near post, so I knew my only chance was to redirect it to the far post. I think I got enough on it to just get it to the corner.” It was a stunning strike and would also end up being the game winner.
Minutes later, Cummins was back in front of the Tech goal again this time with Victoria Esson off her line to play the ball. Cummins had a whack at the ball and then Hannah Higgins also took a whack. Esson was in the process of trying to wrap up the ball and once securing it, she protested the treatment she received to the referee. Since the ball had still been loose, though, her protest went for naught.
At 24:35, Cummins did receive a yellow card, but it was for a separate infraction at midfield.
At 26:15, one of Texas’ best subs came on when Allison Smith checked in for Clarissa Wedemeyer at midfield. Smith would have a total of 29 minute of playing time through both halves.
The wind in the first half was blowing at 15 to 20 miles per hour towards the Texas Tech end. Evidence of the wind factor was put graphically on display at about the 28th minute when Tech’s keeper, Victoria Esson, attempted a goal kick which only went about thirty yards before being pushed back by a sudden gust. On the other side of the ball, Texas would continue its strategy of bringing Alexa Gaul way out of goal to take free kicks at or near midfield.
At 29:15, Gabby Zarnegar came on for Vanessa Ibewuike.
Around the 32nd minute, the game was stopped for a period of time while the head referee engaged Texas coach Chris Petrucelli in a long conversation. It was unclear to spectators what the discussion was about, but it appeared that the referee was not happy with something Petrucelli was doing.
At 36:27, Kylie Doniak took a corner kick for Texas. The ball found Kristin Cummins who tried to hit a volley but ended up putting the ball twenty yards over the top of the crossbar, hitting a Buick in the parking lot.
At 38:26, Taylor Johnson checked into the game for Doniak.
Then, at 40:16, Alexa Gaul came all the way out of goal to take a free kick at a point approximately 65 yards away from her own end. It was a stunning position for a free kick to be taken by a keeper, but presumably Texas felt comfortable doing it with the wind blowing toward the Texas Tech end. Gaul’s free kick went on goal and the ball very nearly slipped inside the left post. Esson made the save, though, moving from her left to right.
At the end of the first half, Texas had taken 7 shots to Tech’s 3. Texas had an advantage in corner kicks of 3-2. Gaul had made 2 saves while Esson had made 5.
In the second half, Tech had three corner kicks in the first seven minutes. Two resulted in shots on goal, with one saved by Gaul and the other going wide.
At 50:44, Alexa Gaul came way out of her goal to take a free kick from just past midfield. The stat sheet recorded it as a shot with the ball going wide.
At 55:22, Texas Tech coach Tom Stone was shown a yellow card by the referee. The cause of the infraction was unclear.
At 57:26, Tech sophomore midfielder, Conner Williams, crossed a ball right into the Texas goalmouth finding freshman Jaelene Hinkle at only five yards out. Hinkle somehow put the ball over the crossbar from that distance, eliciting a huge sigh of relief from the Texas faithful. Asked about Hinkle’s opportunity after the game, Alexa Gaul commented, “Luckily she hit it over. That was a scary moment.”
Texas Tech ended up taking 8 shots to Texas’ 3 in the second half. Gaul made 2 saves in the half to preserve the shutout and Texas held on to win by a final score of 1-0.
Texas will next face Oklahoma State at 5:30pm on Friday in San Antonio.