Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Texas Hopes to Change Its Past in Big XII Tourney

With a soccer program that is only a fledgling 13 years old, the Texas Longhorns have come a long way. Under Coach Chris Petrucelli, the Longhorns have built themselves into a national power recruiting top talent around the country.

Despite the success, Texas has found themselves with several difficult hurdles. This year's Texas team looks to be one of the finest that Texas has ever produced, boasting a win over top ranked UCLA, and spending most of the season in the top 10. However, Texas cooled off during conference play with a 6-2-2 record that left them second behind Texas A&M.

Speaking of Texas A&M, the Longhorns once again fell to the Aggies in College Station, a place the Longhorns have never beaten the Aggies. While that can be a challenge the Longhorns try to overcome in two seasons, tonight starts another challenge that the Longhorns struggled in until last season.

The Big XII tourney gets underway tonight and the Longhorns come in hot after beating Oklahoma and Colorado by scores of 4-0 and 4-1, respectfully. Texas is the two seed and takes on the seven seed Colorado. If Texas can get by the Buffaloes they will face the winner of Kansas and Oklahoma State. And of course, standing at the end of the path will most likely be the Texas A&M Aggies. Texas has made it to three Big XII title games, losing twice to A&M, before breaking through last season in a win over Colorado, who upset the Aggies on the way to the title.

The Big XII Tournament is mostly a formality as the Longhorns have all but assured themselves of homefield in at least the first round of the NCAA tournament. In five NCAA appearances Texas has made it out of the first round twice, falling both times in the third round to Portland. Texas has chronically underachieved in the NCAA's but this year's team hopes to turn their fortunes around.

Texas is led forwards Kelsey Carpenter (SR/8 G, 5 A) and Niki Arlett (FR/10 G, 5A). They have led Texas' attack this season along with defender Kasey Moore (JR/8 G, 3 A). The Longhorns has always been a team to rely on their offense, and while the Horns boast a strong defense with Moore, Jill Gilbeau (JR), and goalkeeper Dianna Pfenniger (JR), they might have to be without their top defender Stephanie Logterman (JR) who has not played in the past two matches.

The Longhorns should be able to make it to the Big XII Championship game where they will get another shot at Texas A&M. It will be that game that should be a true test to see what this Texas team is made of and whether they can overcome the obstacles that has stopped Texas soccer in the past.

No comments: