Disordered spring networks that are undercoordinated may abruptly rigidify when sufficient strain is applied. Since the deformation in response to applied strain does not change the generic quantifiers of network architecture, the number of nodes and the number of bonds between them, this rigidity transition must have a geometric origin. Naive, degree-of-freedom-based mechanical analyses such as the Maxwell-Calladine count or the pebble game algorithm overlook such geometric rigidity transitions and offer no means of predicting or characterizing them. We apply tools that were developed for the topological analysis of zero modes and states of self-stress on regular lattices to two-dimensional random spring networks and demonstrate that the onset of rigidity, at a finite simple shear strain γ, coincides with the appearance of a single state of self-stress, accompanied by a single floppy mode. The process conserves the topologically invariant difference between the number of zero modes and the number of states of self-stress but imparts a finite shear modulus to the spring network. Beyond the critical shear, the network acquires a highly anisotropic elastic modulus, resisting further deformation most strongly in the direction of the rigidifying shear. We confirm previously reported critical scaling of the corresponding differential shear modulus. In the subcritical regime, a singular value decomposition of the network's compatibility matrix foreshadows the onset of rigidity by way of a continuously vanishing singular value corresponding to the nascent state of self-stress.