AUSTIN, Texas — With temperatures plummeting into the upper 40s and wind gusts in excess of 30 miles per hour Friday night in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Mike A. Myers Stadium, No. 16 Texas football (15-2- 4) Goals by midfielder in sophomore year Jilly Shimkinthe second year forward Trinity Byars and second midfielder Ashlyn Miller to eliminate longtime rivals Texas A&M (9-7-5) 3-1.
Texas game notes
- Byars’ 17th goal of the season broke former Texas All-American Kelly Wilson’s singles record of 16 goals set in 2004.
- Second Midfielder Lexi Missimo also made school history in one season by recording her 15th assist of the year to break the old mark of 14 assists shared by Missimo (2021) and Wilson (2004).
- The Longhorns offense is nearing some major program records in one season. With 54 goals in 2022, Texas needs just four more to break the 2002 school record of 57. With 58 assists, the Burnt Orange & White need just five more to break the 2004 school record of 62. With 166 points, UT needs just seven more points to break the combined 2002 and 2004 mark of 172 points.
- Byars’ goal was her seventh matchwinner of the season to put her first in the NCAA Division I category alongside Dayton’s Itala Gemelli.
- Shimkin’s goal was her seventh goal of the season (ranked second on the roster), while Miller scored her first goal in over a year since tickling TCU in the Big 12 Championship Finals on Nov. 7, 2021.
- Texas’ three goals against Texas A&M was the most for the Longhorns in an NCAA tournament game since they beat North Texas 3-0 in the first round of the NCAA in 2017.
- Texas improved to 2-1 all-time in NCAA tournament play against Texas A&M, securing its first overall win at an NCAA tournament since 2017.
- In his 16th overall appearance at the event, Texas improved to 9-15-2 in NCAA play and 5-4-0 in tournament play in Austin.
- Texas is now unbeaten in their last 57 games (56-0-1) when they score two or more goals since the start of the 2017 season.
After a dry run, it was Texas who created the best early chances. The Longhorns almost unlocked Texas A&M’s defense in the eighth minute when a long ball sent the field into a powerful headwind from the second defender EmJ Cox fell near the top of the 18-yard box. With a step on her marker, Byars was able to break in almost 1-v-1, but Aggie keeper Kenna Caldwell sped off her line to just slap the UT forward to the ball and choke it to prevent a shot.
Byars fired a shot at 9:33 when her 15-yard attempt was tipped straight into the air by Caldwell and caught.
With a battle for midfield in full swing, Byars continued to cause A&M trouble when the Richardson, Texas native was pulled down just yards outside the box for a foul. After the 12th-minute free kick that followed, Shimkin stepped forward and deflected a 19-yard shot down the left edge of the string to give the Longhorns an early 1-0 lead.
The Aggies nearly responded back at 12:08 when Carissa Boeckmann attempted a blast from the top of the box but watched as she was far to the right of frame.
Texas A&M created another dangerous opportunity in the 24th minute when Boeckmann burst up on the left wing and crossed a ball down the middle that was deflected forward. Georgia Leb corralled the loose ball and shot from 30 yards only to block and clear the shot.
At 30:59, Byars was within a foot of doubling the Texan advantage, only to have her 14-yard bet rolled just outside the left post from the right side of the box.
Longhorns goalie Savannah Madden came through with a clutch save at 35:48 when the grad jumped high to knock Andersen Williams’ 18-yard attempt over the bar.
Just 30 seconds from the dressing room at halftime, Texas was close to adding another. With possession inside the 18, Byars managed to dance around an attacking Caldwell to her left. She continued to evade defensive pressure from Texas A&M and eventually backed up to the right, but couldn’t find much pace on a 14-yard shot when Aggie defender Karlina Sample managed to clear the potential goal off the line.
Missimo nearly made the scoring list for UT at 48-44, but the Southlake, Texas native saw her 14-yard attempt rattling off the bar before being collected by the keeper.
With Texas pressing hard, it was the Longhorns defense that fell victim to Texas A&M’s 57-33 goal. Maile Hayes, who had possession a few yards from the right edge of the box, was fouled when the referee pointed to the spot. Hayes stepped forward and blasted her PK goal center just inches below the crossbar to level the game at 1-1.
Byars suddenly faced a draw and continued to wreak havoc in the 60th minute. After a quick break-up field, Missimo delivered a through ball to her closely marked teammate, who entered the penalty area from above. Byars managed to put off a 14-yard shot, but Caldwell again deflected the ball in the air before making the catch.
Eventually, at 64-11, Byars’ 17th goal smashed the school’s record in a single season. Miller started the game wide out on the left wing when the McKinney, Texas product delivered an entry pass down the middle. Byars grabbed the ball, fired a quick left dart and sped past her marker to score from eight yards for a 2-1 lead.
Just 1:36 later, the Burnt Orange & White missed a golden opportunity for third place. From a Byars cross near the right endline, Miller attempted a quick volley from six yards out but fired her shot over the woodwork.
Texas kept firing as a sophomore defender EmJ Cox had saved a 13-yard header on a Caldwell dive at 71:29.
Cox also headed wide left to make it 73-52, while Missimo blocked a 12-yard shot from the right side of the box for a corner to make it 77-22.
The Longhorns finally ended their offensive performance after a corner at 78:48. Missimo drove the standard situation to the top of the six. The feed was distracted by the senior fifth-year defender Carlee Allens Head and out to the left of the box. Miller charged into the game and covered a seven-yard volley into the top of the line to push Texas’ lead to 3-1.
Texas A&M created one last chance against the Texas defense when Hayes deflected a 19-yard try straight into Madden’s arms to save at 82-21.
From there, UT has done a solid job of possessing the ball to tick off the clock in his NCAA tournament first round win.