SAN ANTONIO -- Kristin Cummins of Texas scored less than 11 minutes into the game, and it turned out to be all the Longhorns needed to advance with a 1-0 victory over Texas Tech in the opening match of the Big 12 Soccer Championship on Wednesday at Blossom Soccer Stadium.
The fifth-seeded Longhorns (11-7-1, 3-4-1) avenged a loss two and a half weeks ago to the Red Raiders. That was a 3-2 decision in double-overtime in Lubbock, a game that served as a tiebreaker to give Texas Tech (10-8-2, 3-4-1) the fourth seed in the tournament.
"You don't need a lot of motivation because of the Big 12 tournament," said Texas forward Kylie Doniak, who had the assist on the goal. "But at the same time we should not have lost that first game (against Texas Tech). You know sometimes you need a little luck on your side, and I think we had a little bit today. It was nice."
It was the seventh shutout of the season for Texas goalkeeper Alexa Gaul.
"Gaul needs some credit for stonewalling us," Texas Tech coach Tom Stone said. "This game was really determined in the first 20 minutes. Texas pushed us around a little bit, they came out very physical and scored in that span."
Texas will play next in the semifinals on Friday at 5:30 p.m., against the winner of the Oklahoma State-Oklahoma matchup. OU and OSU play at 5:50 tonight.
The lone goal in the opening match came 10:51 into the game when Cummins, a junior from Lewisville, Texas, got a pass from Doniak, who was attacking from the right side. Cummins headed it and kept it high, the ball moving to the far post and out of the scrambling reach of Red Raiders goalkeeper Victoria Esson.
"(Doniak) clipped it in and it was a perfect ball," Cummins said. "It couldn't have been any more on the money. I saw the keeper near post, so I knew my only chance was to redirect it to the far post. I think I got enough on it to just get it to the corner."
It was Cummins' fifth goal of the season and the fifth assist for Doniak, who had missed five matches this season because of a right knee injury. Cummins and Doniak lead the Longhorns in goals this season.
"I really wouldn't be on the field if I didn't feel I could give my teammates everything I had and enough to make a difference in the game," Doniak said.
It's the first time the schools have met in the conference tournament, though UT holds a 12-4-2 edge in all-time meetings.
The Longhorns had a steady wind of between 15 and 20 mph at their backs to start the game in the first half. They used it to get off the first five shots on goal. The Red Raiders didn't get a shot off until the 16th minute when Tiffini Smith's low kick from about 20 yards was smothered by Gaul.
With the sides switched and the wind at the Red Raiders' back, Tech had a glaring opportunity 12 minutes after halftime when Conner Williams placed a crossing pass right in front of the Texas goal. Jaelene Hinkle, a freshman defender from Denver, could not have been more than five yards from the mouth of the goal, yet she chipped it high over the crossbar.
"Luckily she hit it over," Gaul said. "That was a scary moment."
Tech placed the ball just feet from the goal line three minutes later on Hinkle's corner kick, a deflected ball away from Gaul that Texas forward Vanessa Ibewuike played away right in front of the left post.
Tech's last good chance came when Jessica Fuston, who scored the game winner against Texas two weeks ago, was fouled about 20 yards out by Lucy Keith. Hinkle took the free kick and Gaul jumped over to knock it away at the right post.