Texas forward Cyera Hintzen waves to the crowd after being introduced ahead of a 2-1 win over Rice at Mike A. Myers Stadium on Aug. 18, 2017. RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Longhorns blank North Texas in NCAA tournament opener

Posted November 10th, 2017

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It took all of 82 minutes for Texas’ soccer team to put away North Texas in an August match. On Friday night in a rematch in the NCAA tournament, the Longhorns needed less than a half to get the job done.

After scoring the game-winner in the first meeting this season between the teams, Texas sophomore forward Cyera Hintzen notched two goals against the Mean Green to lead the Longhorns to a 3-0 first round victory — their first NCAA tournament win since 2014.

UT’s dynamic duo of Hintzen and freshman forward Haley Berg were a blur of burnt orange and black, delivering a pair of goals midway through the first half. With the victory at Myers Stadium, the Longhorns punched their ticket to the second round, advancing to face Clemson or Alabama on the road.

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“It’s very exciting,” Hintzen said. “Nerve-wracking, but an amazing feeling. We settled and played more composed and were able to string passes together and get in there.”

Hintzen picked up right where she left off against North Texas in August.

Taking a delivery to the middle from Berg, Hintzen — the Longhorns’ leading scorer — wasted no time threading a shot between the goalkeeper and the right post to put Texas on the board with 20 minutes to play in the first half.

Ten minutes later, Berg found the back of the net. The Big 12 Conference’s freshman of the year, she beat her defender one-on-one and punched it home off the fingertips of Mean Green goalkeeper Brooke Bradley to give the Longhorns a two-goal advantage.

A second goal from Hintzen after the break was just icing on the cake.

Any hint of stagnation tied to Texas’ brief stay at the Big 12 tournament wasn’t apparent Friday. The Longhorns controlled the tempo while outshooting North Texas 15-8.

“We came together as a team to start this new postseason,” Berg said. “We took mistakes from our past season and fixed them. And we brought it today. We still have stuff to work on, but we really came together to get this win.”

With a fifth consecutive victory over the Mean Green, Texas now prepares to plunge deeper into the NCAA tournament bracket. The Longhorns, led freshmen and sophomore players, appear to have recaptured some of the early season magic that led to a program-record 12 straight wins.

“I have two world-class players sitting beside me (in Berg and Hintzen),” said Longhorns head coach Angela Kelly. “They are truly carrying a load. They are dynamic.”

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