With the quarterfinal victory, the sixth-seeded Longhorns (9-8-3, 5-3-3) will play at 8 p.m. Friday against the winner of the game between No. 2 Texas A&M and No. 7 Baylor that was set for later Wednesday.
The Longhorns almost ended the game moments before Higgins’ goal when defender Erica Campanelli’s shot hit the crossbar and bounced out. The Buffaloes were unable to clear the ball from their end of the field, and UT’s Courtney Goodson got the ball to Higgins for her first shot on goal with 3:14 before the game would have to be decided by penalty kicks.
“The ball was bouncing, and the keeper came out and I just tapped it right in,” said Higgins, a freshman from Flower Mound, Texas. “We dominated the majority of the game, so there was no need for us to go into the shootout. No one wanted to go in the PKs. So we just stepped up and found that last bit of energy to finish the game.”
Colorado (9-10-0, 6-5-0) was the No. 3 seed. The Buffaloes advanced to the final last year before losing a 1-0 game to Missouri. Texas didn’t advance last year after winning the title in ‘07.
“We certainly got ourselves in position tonight,” Buffaloes coach Bill Hempen said. “Some good plays, but we weren’t able to execute, whether it be the service of the ball or the appropriate pass. My kids played as hard as they could.”
It’s the second tight finish between the two schools in the past 10 days. Texas won 1-0 a week and a half ago in a double-overtime game at Austin on Sophie Campise’s goal in the 102nd minute.
The Longhorns appeared to have most of the opportunities to break the scoreless tie in the second half on Wednesday. For the game they ended with 23 shots compared to 15 for Colorado.
“We had many chances back to back to back to back,” Higgins said, “and I think we just kept them on their heels.”
Both goalkeepers -- Kara Linder for Colorado and Alexa Gaul for UT -- stopped three shots on goal.
With 32 minutes to go in regulation Campise redirected a pass in front of the goal box, but the shot went straight at Linder.
About 17 minutes later a corner kick by UT’s Amanda Lisberger found Goodson about 10 yards from the goal, but her shot was headed out by Colorado midfielder Shaye Marshall with 15 minutes to go.
Less than 10 minutes later for the Longhorns, Cummins had a shot toward the left side of the goal that Linder was able to leap and deflect away out of bounds.
Shots in the first half were almost evenly split (Colorado had a 7-6 advantage).
But the Longhorns had the best scoring opportunity in the 32nd minute when Goodson chased down a long pass and got past Linder with an open net about 10 yards in front of her. Kelly Ross hustled over for Colorado and got a foot on the ball to snuff it out.