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Two very different Longhorn teams made appearances during Texas’ two-game homestand at Myers Stadium this weekend. 

Friday’s season opener against No. 25 Arkansas resulted in a long, scoreless draw for both teams, but Texas claimed a dominant win over Nevada on Sunday. 

During Texas’ season start, the Razorbacks’ game plan — which included high shots from the penalty area — never came to fruition as junior goalkeeper Abby Smith recorded her 16th career shutout. 

Smith collected seven saves in the double-overtime contest and made a gutsy clearance outside of the box.

The Longhorns countered Arkansas’ physicality with careful passes and a flurry of crosses in front of the goal, but the team failed to capitalize on the few chances it had.

Against Nevada, a much more attack-minded team showed up. Freshman forward Olivia Brook and senior defender Brooke Gilbert led the charge with two goals each to help the team to a fast-paced 5-1 win.

Texas maintained excellent possession around the Nevada goal and launched 26 shots to Nevada’s nine en route to securing an undefeated homestand.

“Today, we did a better job of controlling our space,” said head coach Angela Kelly after the game. “It’s very important that we control the rhythm of the match.”

Texas travels to Corpus Christi next to take on Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Friday at 7 p.m.

The Longhorns will play their first home games of the season this weekend with a matchup against No. 25 Arkansas on Friday at 7:30 p.m., and a 2 p.m. contest Sunday against Nevada. The games come on the heels of a trip to Honolulu, where Texas tied Arizona State and came from behind to defeat Hawaii in the Outrigger Resorts Shootout.

The Longhorns’ strong play in the shootout resulted in four players earning spots on the all-tournament team.

Texas will need to make sure that its solid play in Hawaii was not drained by the jet lag. Arkansas should provide the Longhorns with one of their first big challenges of the year.

The Razorbacks, one of four ranked teams in the SEC, carry an undefeated record and return eight starters from last season’s team that reached the Sweet Sixteen.  

Nevada struggled last season, ending with a 5-11-4 record, including a 3-6-1 record in Mountain West play.

Texas returns five players with four goals from last season. The returning goal scorers, combined with junior goalkeeper Abby Smith, may be enough for the Longhorns to take down their first of four ranked opponents on the season and get reparation for barely missing out on last year’s NCAA Tournament.

The people of Nevada appear to be as hard as the state’s desert landscape in Claire Vaye Watkins’ “Battleborn.” 

Watkins’ debut collection consists of 10 short stories tied together mostly by pain and suffering. Each story spans a different time period, from the seemingly present to the 1849 Gold Rush and depicts a different set of characters with different woes.  

Watkins was raised in Pahrump, Nevada and her personal story, “Ghosts, Cowboys,” is the first in the collection. The story starts with the historical beginnings of Reno, Nevada, when prospectors came “ten-year-old gold glinting in their eyes,” and everyone was looking for something. Watkins’ father, Paul Watkins, came to a ranch outside Reno with Charles Manson in 1968. He gathered young women from local high schools and brought them back to the Manson family ranch. While Watkins barely knew her father, his potential daughter born on the ranch, and Watkins potential half-sister, create one of the most fascinating stories of the collection.

While the narrative of her father and Charles Manson is certainly autobiographical, the line between reality and fiction is often blurred. The fiction and non-fiction tales flow together easily, but it is curious as to why Watkins included her truth in a set of imagined stories.

There are several outstanding narratives in “Battleborn.” “Rondine Al Nido” is about a young woman retelling an adolescent trauma to a new lover. Like all good literary fiction, Watkins asks questions of universal truth, such as “Who can say why we offer the parts of ourselves we do, and when?” 

“Man-O-War” tells the story of an older man becoming vulnerable in his independence after discovering a teenage girl abandoned on a beach. “The Archivist,” which is probably the most engaging and entertaining narrative of the bunch, portrays a young woman recently broken up with by a man she knew would always hurt her. The woman, Nat, has an art degree, loves her niece “more than a person ought to love one thing” and painstakingly recreates the most heartbreaking moments of her life as exhibits in an art museum. 

The weakest, or perhaps most out-of-place story, “The Diggings,” tells of the gold rush in 1849 and reads more like historical fiction than the rest of the book. 

Watkins exceptionally creates a vivid sense of place in all of her stories, whether she is describing a brothel/peacock ranch outside of town, the rugged bachelor pad of a sixty-something year old man or the hectic, “teenage sense” of Las Vegas through the eyes of two young girls yearning to feel desired. 

Every story has the sad tinge of if-onlys. If only she hadn’t left me, if only I hadn’t broken his heart, if only my father hadn’t sexually abused me, things might have turned out differently. Watkins touches on these traumas with subtlety, making it easier to swallow so many bitter pills.  

“Battleborn” won the 2012 Story Prize, the most significant award for short fiction in the United States, beating out former Pulitzer Prize-winner Junot Diaz and author Dan Chaon. It is unlikely, however, that the 28-year-old writer will win the Pulitzer for her first collection of short stories. While “Visit from the Goon Squad” could arguably be called a collection of connected short stories, Watkins does not show the maturity or connectivity Jennifer Egan won the 2011 Pulitzer for. 

“Battleborn” is a portrait of the American West, both the physical landscape and the heartbreaking journeys of those who have battled to stay alive.

RENO, Nev. — Astronomers say a loud explosion heard across a large swath of Nevada and California on Sunday morning was likely caused by a meteor.

Around 8 a.m. yesterday the explosion rattled windows and shook houses from Reno to Winnemucca in Nevada, and from the Sacramento to Bakersfield areas in California.

Some people in the two states reported seeing a fireball streak across the sky at the same time.

Dan Ruby of the Fleischmann Planetarium at the University of Nevada, Reno, says the reports indicate the meteor broke up above Earth somewhere southwest of Reno.

Printed on Monday, April 23, 2012 as: Fireball falling over Nev., Calif. was just a meteor, science says

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, greets supporters after speaking at a caucus night watch party, Saturday in Las Vegas.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — Now it’s on to Colorado, Minnesota and Maine.

With back-to-back victories fueling him, Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney is looking toward the next states that hold GOP nominating contests as main rival Newt Gingrich brushes aside any talk of abandoning his White House bid, all but ensuring the battle will stretch into the spring if not beyond.

Shortly after losing big to Romney here, the former House speaker emphatically renewed his vow to campaign into the party convention in Tampa this summer. His goal, he said, was to “find a series of victories which by the end of the Texas primary will leave us at parity” with Romney by early April.

Gingrich continued to shrug off Nevada’s caucus results in an appearance on Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press.”

“This is the state he won last time, and he won it this time,” he said of Romney. “Our goal is to get to Super Tuesday where we’re in much more favorable territory.”

But first, Gingrich must make it through Colorado and Minnesota, which both hold caucuses Tuesday. Maine follows on Saturday during a month that promises to be as plodding as January was rapid-fire in the presidential race. Romney will look to maintain his position of strength, if not build upon it, as his rivals continue working to derail him even as their options for doing so narrow with each victory he notches.

The former Massachusetts governor held a double-digit lead Sunday morning over his nearest pursuer as the totals mounted in Nevada, where fellow Mormons accounted for roughly a quarter of all caucus-goers. Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul vied for a distant second. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum trailed the field.