Monday, November 19, 2007

A Season of Firsts

The Lady Longhorns came into the 2007 soccer season much like they have every year, a top ranked team filled with talent and expectations. Typically the hype has fallen short of performance and the Longhorns have fallen short in the conference tournament, the NCAA tournament, and against Texas A&M.

This season has been different as Texas defeated #2 UCLA in a neutral site game early in the season and have continued with a season of firsts. Texas added their second consecutive Big XII Tournament title with a victory over #2 Texas A&M. Heading into the tournament Texas got a tough draw, ending up in College Station with a second round rematch with the Aggies looming.

Texas accomplished another first on Thursday, defeating BYU in the first round. Texas to that point had never won a match in College Station, against the Aggies or anyone else. The win put the Longhorns in the second round, with a match up against the Aggies, whom they had never beaten in College Station.

In a game that faced adverse weather conditions, throughout, Texas A&M controlled the first half after a 50 minute weather delay, and took a 1-0 lead into the half. The second half is when the magic happened as Texas overcame the weather, the opponent, and the atmosphere, and did something they've never done before. Three straight second half goals put them on top 3-1, and they held on for the 3-2 victory, defeating the Aggies for the first time ever in College Station, and their fourth win in the last five matches against the Aggies.

Freshman Erika Campanelli picked the best time for her first career collegiate goal tying the game at one. And then seniors Caitlyn Kennedy and Kelsey Carpenter scored the second and third goals, respectively. Then the Longhorns played defense and held on, as Dianna Pfenniger had 7 saves, as Texas A&M had 23 shots.

The win is huge for this Texas program and one can only hope that the Longhorns can build on this victory and take on the only other hurdle standing in this program's way; they have never made it out of the third round. The Longhorns will try and fix that this Friday as they head to Tallahassee, Florida to take on the #3 seed in the region, the #6 nationally ranked Florida State Seminoles. The winner will meet the winner between the #5 seed in the region Connecticut and the #1 seed in the region and #9 nationally Stanford.

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