Getting hit by the Horns
The Cougars fell 3-0 to No. 39 Texas in front of a record crowd Monday at Robertson Stadium.
The 1,321 fans in attendance saw the Cougars (0-1) match the Longhorns (1-1) in physicality and aggressiveness to start the match, but a Longhorn score in the 25th minute would change that.
“We started off well, but our mentality just dropped when that first goal hit,” senior forward Jessica Zavalza said.
Longhorn defender Nina Pedersen crossed a free kick into the box, and defender Lucy Keith headed it past Cougar goalkeeper Sydney George for the first score.
“Any team is dangerous on a set piece, especially Texas because they have a lot of big players and when it’s served right into the box it’s always dangerous,” head coach Susan Bush said. “It was kind of a cluster and sometimes you have the luck on your side.
“Texas had a little bit more luck than we did tonight.”
The Longhorns would add a second goal minutes later when midfielder Lexi Harris curled a shot from the left wing, and another in the 89th minute.
The Longhorns played with more fluidity than UH, linking passes together and making runs into the box. The Cougars came into the match having only played Texas Christian.
“We just didn’t quite have the rhythm that we are looking for yet,” Bush said. “I suspect the more games we play, the more we’ll recognize each other’s patterns and habits.”
The game plan against the Longhorns was to apply pressure high, but in the first half it was non-existent. The Cougars did a better job of applying pressure in the second half and created more scoring opportunities, but were unable to capitalize.
The Cougars’ best scoring opportunity came in the 51st minute, when forward Sami Sackos got a hold of a low cross, but her shot went wide left of the far post.
With last season’s leading goal scorer Lauri Byrne gone, UH will have to find ways to put the ball in the back of the net, but head coach Bush is confident in her new arrivals.
“We added a lot of freshman with attacking personalities and I think we just have to get them comfortable, calm and confident and the goals will come.”
UH will travel to North Carolina to take on Duke on Friday before battling the No. 3 North Carolina Tarheels on Sunday.