Texas State soccer (4-11-1 overall, 4-4 Sun Belt) fell 4-0 in a visit to its northern neighbors, the University of Texas at Austin Longhorns (5-5 overall, 4-5 Big 12), on March 5.
In their second game of 2021, the Bobcats fell to a more experienced UT team full of goal scorers and bright young prospects. Texas State entered the match as the clear underdogs with the hope of snatching a victory from a middling UT side, which entered the contest with a losing record but left with few takeaways on the night.
The game soured for the Bobcats just five minutes into the game. A shot by Longhorn senior midfielder/forward Haley Berg, rebounded off a Texas State defender and into the path of junior midfielder Julia Grosso, whose delayed run into the box left freshman goalkeeper Beth Agee with little recourse to deal with the shot.
After the first goal, the Longhorns peppered Agee’s goal, trying their luck in the yards of space allowed by a deep-sitting Texas State defense. The shots not handled by Agee or sent off-target for goal kicks found themselves back at the feet of players in burnt orange after short clearances, continuing the shelling of the goal. The Bobcats did not manage a single shot compared to the Longhorns’ 17 and eight on target in the first half.
The Longhorns did not remain static in their attack; long-range attempts soon gave way to cutbacks from wide areas. Freshman midfielder Lexi Missimo earned the No. 10 shirt in her first collegiate game, wreaking havoc with dribbling, vision and composure beyond her 17 years of age. Missimo tallied two assists and a goal on the night.
Texas State's attacking noticeably faded once UT's second goal went in. Long balls to sprinting wingers could never quite connect, all the while the UT press created chance after chance. A quick, short corner to Missimo caught the Bobcats unaware, as she whipped cross to unmarked junior forward Mackenzie McFarland near the penalty spot, who rifled home the chance with ease.
In comparison to the first half, the Texas State defense limited the number of times Agee picked the ball out of the back of the net. The only goal allowed after the halftime break came from the spot; Berg drew contact from junior defender Addison Gaetano, who could not replicate the highs of her staunch defending against UNT and sold the soft foul to the referee. Missimo converted from the spot despite Agee correctly guessing the direction of the penalty.
Texas State managed two shots in the second half with one on target compared to Texas’ total of 25. Sophomore forward Madison Humphrey fired a low but manageable shot to the bottom left of the goal, handled by senior goalkeeper Savannah Madden. The second Bobcat shot came from sophomore midfielder Lindsey Salisbury, who sent an attempt over the top left of the goal.
Junior midfielder Hannah Solano dribbled directly toward many UT defenders on the break, skipping past them on occasion while tensing the UT goalkeeper for the first time in the game. Freshman Emma Jones provided some of the same destabilizing dynamism down the wing as she did in the earlier games of fall 2020. Agee, meanwhile, kept the hole from getting any deeper, adding another seven saves to her still-nation-leading 82 after the final whistle blew.
Texas State’s next game is another road affair against No. 4 Texas Christian University at 7 p.m. on March 13 at the Garvey-Rosenthal Soccer Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas.