One match after recording a hat trick, striker Ashleigh Williams recorded her third straight multiple goal game
LUBBOCK, Texas (NEWS RELEASE) - Powered by another brace from junior Ashleigh Williams, the Texas Tech Red Raiders rolled to a 3-0 win over Utah State Sunday afternoon at the John Walker Soccer Complex.
Originally slated for a 7 p.m. kick under the lights, the match was moved to an afternoon affair due to pending inclement weather.
Unfazed by the earlier kick, Texas Tech (3-0-1) got off to a dream start, when sophomore Kylie Bahr made a beautiful run down the left flank.
Bahr raced toward the Utah State (1-3) box in the first minute of the match and sent a perfect ball that found a wide open Williams. The junior deposited the ball into the back of the net, scoring her then sixth goal of the season.
The strike, which came just 71 seconds into the match, gave Tech a 1-0 lead.
Sunday’s match remained 1-0 until a strong sequence was started by reserve Kaitlyn Giametta. Entering the match three minutes early, Giametta rocketed a shot that was deflected out by USU keeper Diera Walton for a corner.
After the ball was once again knocked out of bounds for a corner, freshman Sam Courtwright delivered a perfect service that found Hannah Anderson in the box.
Anderson redirected it with her head, in the direction of Williams, who on a rebound buried her second goal of the afternoon, fifth of the week and seventh of the season.
Entering the day of action, seven goals would lead the entire country.
Armed with a two goal lead, Tech cruised over the final 10 minutes and change of the first half, heading to the break with a 2-0 lead.
After Utah State’s Rine Yonaha recorded the Aggies first shot on goal that was saved by Madison White, the Red Raiders quickly answered the threat with the decisive third goal.
As she has all season, Macy Blackburn started the threat when she made the perfect run up the right-hand side. The defender crossed a perfect ball that found a wide open Alex Kerr. Kerr attempted to cross the ball back post, but her attempt was blocked by an Aggies defender.
The deflection however fell right to Gisselle Kozarksi, who rocketed a shot past Walton for her first goal of the season.
Kozarski’s strike gave the Red Raiders a commanding 3-0 lead with just 28 minutes to play.
Over the final third of the match, Tech was able to go into cruise control, as Utah State managed just one shot (in the 88th minute).
With the victory, Tech remains unbeaten on the season and now will take an eight-match regular season unbeaten streak into Thursday’s contest against UNT. The Red Raiders are also now 4-0 in their last four home matches dating back to the 2022 season and have yet to trail in 2023.
As she has been her entire career, goalie Madison White was solid in the win recording her 28th career clean sheet, just one away from tying Victoria Essons’ program record. The keeper recorded a pair of saves to move to within three saves from becoming the sixth Tech goalie to record 200 career saves.
With her two goals this afternoon, Williams recorded her 23rd and 24th career goals, moving the Allen native into a tie for seventh all-time on the Tech all-time scoring mark. With her four points today, Williams also became the 10th Red Raider to record 50 career points.
As previously mentioned Williams has now scored seven times in just four matches this season bringing her goal total over the last 14 matches to an impressive 16.
HEAD COACH TOM STONE:
“I thought our girls handled the time change great. I think they were excited when they came in the building. They didn’t want to wait all day for the game. So I think from that standpoint we pivoted nicely. I thought we were excited and ready to go. Look, we’re going to play a ton of Sunday games, and they’re going to be at one o’clock, that’s the way it is. In a roundabout way, this turned out to be a net positive for us. We got the win, we got to play in the heat in grind it out conditions, and the girls got to feel that satisfaction of getting a win on Sunday.”
On Ashleigh Williams:
“For her, it’s just the progression from senior year [of high school], to freshman year of college, to sophomore year to junior year. That’s the true test of a college athlete, whether or not they they get better every year because when you’re a starter it’s easy to cruise and go well who’s going to play over me because I scored nine goals last year. So she could have come in as the same player as last year but she didn’t. She came in more eager to learn and asking more questions. Her fitness was better, and so we’re just seeing the evolution of her game. Here’s the deal, Ashleigh’s so physically strong, that once she gets into certain places and gets up a head of steam, it takes quite a defensive play to keep her from getting on the end of a cross. So we’re happy for her that she’s done it the old fashioned way. She’s earned her success and worked hard for it. Hopefully she keeps it going.
On this year’s teams’ ability to pull out wins versus draws:
“I think it’s the maturity of a lot of our upper classman. From the start they were just like ‘look guys we tied too many games last year’. Our mentality was we’ve got to turn sone of those ties into W’s, because none of those ties that we had last year were potential losses. We were on the front foot of every one of those games. So that’s where it hurts, if you survive and get a tie sometimes, you’re happy about that, but we were the dominant team in all those ties, and we just said this year we can’t have that. We’re certainly going to draw somebody else, it’s a 20-game season, but let’s hope that it is a hard-fought well-earned draw and not what was going on last year. But at the same time, we’re not last year’s team. We’ve got seven new people, we’ve got all these other freshman, we’ve got Macy Blackburn back, we’ve got three fifth year seniors. We’re not last year’s team. Every team is a new journey, every season is different, especially after you’re successful. It’s easy to say, ‘oh we’re going to do that again’, but even if you do that again you have to do it differently, it’s never the same. I like the identity of this team, it’s developing, and we’ll see if we can carry it as the season progress.”
The Red Raiders will continue the season-long five-match homestand on Thursday night when North Texas pays a vist to the John Walker Soccer Complex. First kick for the “Code Red Match” is set for 7 p.m.
Copyright 2023 KCBD. All rights reserved.