LUBBOCK, Texas – The Texas Tech soccer team wraps up the regular season with a senior night date against Oklahoma on Friday, Oct. 27, at 6 p.m. at the John Walker Soccer Complex.
Friday’s match between the Red Raiders (8-6-3, 1-4-3) and the Sooners (3-11-4, 1-4-3) will be televised on FSSW+, FOXSportsGo.com and on the FOX Sports Go app. As always, live stats will be available via TexasTech.Statbroadcast.com.
Before the match, Tech will honor its four members of the 2017 senior class in a pregame ceremony. This year’s senior class includes: Defender Cassie Conarty, forward Haleigh Fancher, defender Rebekah O’Brien and forward Natalie Schmutz. The 2017 group has combined for 47 wins during their Texas Tech campaigns, which included three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances and a Big 12 Tournament title victory in 2015.
“A ton,” head coach Tom Stone said on what his senior class has meant to him and the program. “They’re great kids. They’ve all done extremely well in school, are good leaders in their own ways and have given everything they’ve had to the program over the last four years. We love senior night. It’s a great tradition to send them off the right way.”
For the second-straight year, the Red Raiders end the regular season at home against Oklahoma. Last season, Tech punched its ticket to the Big 12 Tournament with a 1-0 victory in double overtime against the Sooners. Forward Jade King rifled a shot off the bottom of the crossbar and into the net for the game-winning score in the 104th minute to send the 2016 seniors out on a high note.
It was the fourth consecutive meeting between the two programs to end in overtime. The first OT match in that stretch was the last time the Sooners picked up a victory over the Red Raiders, which came in a 1-0 double overtime match in Lubbock on Oct. 3, 2014. It is the only loss Tech has taken to OU over the last 10 years, outscoring the Sooners 17-7 over the 11 matches.
Last year’s contest had Big 12 Tournament implications, as the Red Raiders entered the match sitting in ninth in the conference standings, needing a win to continue their season. This year’s matchup doesn’t have as high stakes, as both teams clinched berths in the annual championship tournament, but seeding is on the line on Friday. A Tech win or draw would give the Red Raiders the No. 7 spot in the tournament, while a loss would slot Tech at No. 8.
“We always want to win every game and finish as high as we can,” Stone said. “We would’ve been in the four vs. five game if we had just held on for three more minutes at Iowa State. From that standpoint, we just want to win. From the launching our opportunity to get another shot at some of these Big 12 teams, it’s even more important. The better we play on Friday will parlay into how well we play on Wednesday and how well we play Wednesday determines if we’re one of those teams that forms its own pathway. Fortunately, it’s still in our control.
“No one can knock us out, no one can win a game away from home or do something tomorrow that impacts us. So, from that standpoint, we know if we give everything we have then it’s under our control.”
The Red Raiders wrapped up its regular season road schedule with a pair of 1-1 draws at No. 8 West Virginia and Iowa State last weekend. On Thursday, Tech battled back with a goal from junior defender Brooke Denesik in the 61st minute against the Mountaineers and frustrated the WVU attack to finish with a 1-1 decision in Morgantown. It was the first West Virginia had finished a home conference match in a tie since Oct. 12, 2012, in another 1-1 contest against Baylor. On Sunday, the Red Raiders struck first with less than 30 seconds to go in the first half on a ball from junior midfielder Carly Wickenheiser to give Tech a 1-0 lead at the break. However, with three minutes left in regulation, Iowa State found the equalizer and held on through overtime for another 1-1 decision.
The two points from the pair of draws secured Tech’s spot in the Big 12 Tournament, eliminating Iowa State & Kansas State from contention. The Red Raiders would face either Oklahoma State, West Virginia or Texas in the opening round of the tournament, depending on how seeding shakes up after Friday’s matches.
This year, the Red Raiders are led in nearly every offensive category by freshman forward Ally Griffin.
She tops the squad in points (11), goals (five), shots (53), shots on goal (24) and game-winning goals (four).
Griffin and fellow freshman Kirsten Davis, who has scored four goals, combined with the experience of sophomores Jade King and Jordie Harr, have rejuvenated Tech’s offense to numbers that have already surpassed last year’s totals through 17 matches. Heading into the regular season finale, the Red Raiders have recorded 21 goals, passing last year’s 20 goals in 20 contests. Tech had already pushed past its assist and point totals of nine and 49, respectively, by putting up 13 and 55 on the field in 2017. Harr also increased her assist marks from 2016, with four this season, after serving up three last year.
Freshman goalkeeper Marissa Zucchetto has started each of the last three matches for the Red Raiders and is the only keeper to play the duration of a match this season. Over the weekend, she recorded 13 saves, eight against the Mountaineers, to raise her season total to 34. Zucchetto has played in all 17 contests this season, with the first 14 in second half action.
Oklahoma enters the weekend in eighth in the conference standings, already locking in their spot to the Big 12 Tournament last week with a 3-2 win over K-State. The Sooners are led on offense by Kaylee Dao, who has recorded four goals and one assist this season. She is one of six Sooners with a goal in 2017, combining for 12 scores, while allowing 30 to their opponents.
After Friday’s match, the Red Raiders head to Kansas City for the Big 12 Soccer Tournament, with quarterfinal action beginning on Wednesday, Nov. 1, at 11:30 a.m. or 5:30 p.m. at Swope Soccer Village.