As UT Stumbles, Aggies Remain Premier Program in State

You’ll forgive Texas A&M women’s soccer coach G Guerrieri if he seems a little removed from the hubbub surrounding the move of the Aggie athletics programs to the SEC.  No doubt, Guerrieri faces the same challenges of learning new opponents, managing increased travel and defending his recruiting turf as any A&M coach.  However, you’ll forgive him if he makes this transition from a slightly different perspective than his colleagues in College Station.  While the A&M athletic department fled the Big 12 in hopes of shedding its little brother image and stepping out of the shadow of the Burnt Orange leviathan that is Longhorn athletics, Guerrieri and his A&M women’s soccer program was approaching two decades of continuous soccer dominance over UT.  On the football field, Aggie may have been little brother, but on the soccer pitch, A&M wasn’t just the older sister – they were Big Momma.  No matter what the Longhorns tried, A&M women’s soccer just gave them the back of the hand, usually flush across the cheek.

Make no mistake.  Guerrieri and the Aggie women’s soccer team have owned UT since the the inception of the program.  While the Aggie football team suffered the indignity of losing the last planned meeting with the Longhorns on its home field, the  Aggie soccer team heaped the same fate, but more convincingly, on the Horns, drubbing UT 3-0 at Mike Myers stadium on October 28, 2011.  There were no wild celebrations or overly dramatic pronouncements of the significance of this “final” meeting between the schools.  It was just another notch in the Aggie belt.  Since UT began varsity level soccer in 1994, the Aggies hold a 18-5-2 all time record over the Horns. This head to head advantage exists in every aspect between the programs:  conference championships, All-Americans, NCAA playoff success.  It’s not a fluke.  It’s not a blip.  It’s almost two decades of complete dominance.  The contrast may be more sharp this year than ever.  A&M is edging toward a Top 10 ranking once again, while UT has fallen to a 2-6 record against mediocre competition.

But the question is why.  Why, with all the resources and reputation on the 40 Acres, has A&M so thoroughly established itself as the premier women’s soccer program in Texas?
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Longhorns Swept in Utah, Fall to 2-6 on Season

Utes Deal Struggling Horns 1-0 Road Loss; Follows 5-0 Defeat to BYU

09/08/2012   Box Score | Box Score (pdf)

Courtesy of University of Texas Sports Information

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After a scoreless first half, Utah’s Jill Robison struck for a goal at 55:30 off an assist from Katie Taylor to lift the Utes to a 1-0 victory over Texas at Ute Field on Saturday afternoon. Robison lobbed the ball over the outstretched arms of Texas sophomore goalkeeper Ava Vogel for the score.

After Texas spent the majority of the first 10 minutes of the match in the attacking third, the Longhorns registered the contest’s first shot at 11:46 on an attempt from sophomore Allison Smith. The attempt was blocked and did not get through to Utah keeper Lindsey Luke. Continue reading

Where Does Austin Club Soccer Go Next?

The consolidation of select clubs in the Austin area has had both positive and negative effects.  One of the oft mentioned negatives is the loss of old rivalries.  The days of the Capitals/Flyers rivalry or Thunder/Eagles are long gone.  In its place, intra-club match ups are often the most competitive matches of the season, and smaller clubs spend their time shooting at the “big kid” on the block.  More than the loss of rivalries, though, is the loss of history.  How many players and parents today know who the Capitals were, or that the ’70 Capitals boys team was the first Central Texas team to advance to the USYSA national championships?  Who has played a match at Longhorn Soccer Park, or can tell us who Laszlo was and why he used to yell “Bluebonnet” as a match came to a close?  Who remembers watching Milan Dovedan play with the Soccadillos and then coach for the Flyers?  Who remembers hanging out at the Cantina at Retama while waiting to play against the Generals?  Who would have thought that when the River City Rangers became the new kid on the block in 1991, that 20 years later they would be far and away the longest surviving club in Austin?  In 1991, the betting money was much more on the “All Star Soccer Club” which also started that year in the same area outlasting the Rangers.  Who remembers who the ASSC Director of Coaching was?

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Overtime Loss to UNM Drops Texas to 2-4-0 on Season

Courtesy University of Texas Sports Information

Sept. 2, 2012

Box Score

AUSTIN, Texas – The first career goal by sophomore Sharis Lachappelle was not enough to lift Texas over New Mexico on Sunday afternoon inside Mike A. Myers Stadium and Soccer Field. The 2-1 loss came in heartbreaking fashion as Lobos’ senior Jordan Craig scored the equalizer in the 90th minute and the winner in the 104th minute of the second overtime period.

The Longhorns scored the contest’s first goal at 9:35. The match’s second shot turned into Lachappelle’s first career tally, as a New Mexico foul gave Texas a free kick just outside the 18-yard box. Senior Kristin Cummins took the kick and her ball was headed past Lobo goalkeeper Kelli Cornell by Lachappelle.

Neither team managed another shot until the 25:37 mark, when senior Hannah Higgins’ attempt was saved by Cornell. The Lobos (2-3-1) countered with shots by Natalie Jenks and Lauren Irwin, but the first was blocked and the latter sailed wide left.

Texas sophomore goalkeeper Ava Vogel tallied her first save of the match at 31:18, when she stopped an Ashley Espinosa strike.

In the second half, Higgins nearly put the Longhorns up by two goals. She weaved her way through the defense and took a left-footed shot at 53:31, but it missed high. Two minutes later, Jenks had a chance to tie the match, but her shot also went high.

The Longhorns had another opportunity to increase the lead at 74:06 when freshman Lindsey Meyer’s header off a corner kick rolled just wide right of the frame. New Mexico would not relent and continued to pressure the Longhorns’ defense until the last moment. The continued effort led to a tie with a last-gasp goal in the 90th minute by Craig to send the game to overtime.

During the first overtime period, Texas had four shots but was not able to cash in. New Mexico nearly scored off of a header by Stephanie Rowe in the 100th minute but did not convert.

The Longhorns once again controlled the pace in the second overtime period, but it was the Lobos scoring the game winner. Coming off of a turnover in the midfield, junior Lobo defender Liz Nare passed to an open Craig, who scored her second goal of the match at 103:29.

UT (2-4-0) returns to action Thursday evening at BYU (4-1-0) for the National Soccer Coaches Association of America College Game of the Week, televised by FOX Soccer. The contest against the Cougars will start at 8 p.m. Central.

Post-Match Notes
– Two of Texas’ first five home matches have gone into overtime.
– The Longhorns had not played an overtime match at home since Oct. 29, 2010, prior to the season opener against Dayton, which went into one overtime period.
– UT took 14 shots to New Mexico’s 10. It is the fifth time this season the Longhorns have outshot their opponent.
– Junior Brenda Saucedo made her first career start. Entering the season, she had played in just five total matches. Already this season, she has appeared in six.
– Senior Kristin Cummins’ two assists this season match her career total entering the campaign. She tallied one as a freshman and one as a sophomore.
– Sophomore Sharis Lachappelle’s goal was the first of her Texas career after playing at the University of Houston in 2011.