Texas Tech women’s soccer opens Big 12 Championships Monday vs Cincinnati
AUSTIN, TX (NEWS RELEASE) - No. 5 Texas Tech women’s soccer opens play at the 2023 Big 12 Championships sponsored by Sprouts on Monday when they will clash with the Bearcats of Cincinnati.
Originally scheduled to be played at the Round Rock Multipurpose Complex, the game will instead be played at the Mike Meyers Stadium and Soccer Field on Texas’ campus. First kick is set for 2 p.m.
Entering the match having won the program’s first Big 12 regular season title, Tech will look to become the 10th Big 12 team to win the regular season outright and win the Big 12 Tournament.
If victorious the Red Raiders will move on to meet the winner of Texas and West Virginia in Wednesday’s semifinals.
INSIDE THE MATCHP:
DATE: Monday, Oct. 30
TIME: 2 p.m.
LOCATION: Austin, Texas (Mike Meyers Stadium and Soccer Field)
LAST TIME OUT:
All season long the moments kept building.
First came the program’s best overall start.
Then the best Big 12 start.
Next in line? The first top-25 ranking in two-plus seasons.
Shortly after came the program’s first top-10 ranking in nearly a decade.
Just four days ago, a No. 5 overall ranking by the 2023 NCAA Tournament selection committee, a ranking that exceeds the highest ranking accrued in program history.
Finally on Monday night, the 2023 Texas Tech women’s soccer program claimed its “forever first” as the team used a 40th minute goal from junior Ashleigh Williams to record the first Big 12 Regular Season title in program history.
The goal was ironic, fitting, beautiful and downright emblematic of the 2023 Red Raider squad.
First came the irony, as senior Elise Anderson, who was sprung into the starting lineup in place of an injured Macy Blackburn provided the final pass.
Fitting in the sense that it combined to feature Tech’s top-two scores, a duo that with tonight’s goal has now combined for 24 goals and are the first tandem 10-goal scorers in program history.
Then came the emblematic part, a world class finish, by a world class player, after receiving not one, but two perfect passes from a pair of seniors.
After being locked in a frustrating battle with Iowa State that nearly saw the match got to the half scoreless, it was one last moment of brilliance from two of Tech’s stars that cemented the 2023 Texas Tech Red Raider teams’ legacy.
Senior Alex Kerr secured a throw in and sent a perfect ball to a screaming Elise Anderson down the right flank. Anderson then flicked a perfect ball into the middle of the Cyclones six-yard box that connected with the inner right boot of Williams.
As she has all year long, Williams was up to the task when her team needed her the most, recording her 14th overall goal and seventh game-winner of the season, breaking the program record for game-winning goals in a season.
The goal for the Red Raiders came in a flash and not a minute too soon, as freshman Avery Gillahan and the Cyclone backline combined for eight saves in 27 minutes of action, none more crucial than a three-save sequence off a corner kick that featured a pair of highlight reel saves from the keeper and well-timed team save (a clearance off the goal line by an ISU defender).
Heading to the half up by the ever-important goal, Tech set its sights on one thing and one thing only: finding a way to close out victory number 14 and the critical three points.
Sure, there were other contests in and around the Big 12, as all 14 programs were in action on the same night separated by just one hours’ time.
Entering the night, the clinch scenario for Tech was simple: Win and the outright title was secured.
A draw? Well then, they would have needed help in the form of a loss or draw from No. 7 BYU who hosted UCF tonight. After leading at the break by a score of 3-1, the Cougars closed out a 3-2 victory.
But once again all that mattered for the Red Raiders was the task at hand in Ames, Iowa.
After the halftime break, Tech continued to try and strike the balance between pushing for the second goal and managing the moment.
For the first 35-40 minutes of the half, the mission was accomplished, as Tech held ISU without a credible scoring chance until the final five minutes of the match.
Then the true resolve of the 2023 Red Raiders moved front-and-center once again.
Goalie Madison White as she did time-and-time-again during the entire season came up with two clutch saves.
The first save came off a deflected Red Raider clearance attempt and required the Rockwall native to make a sprawling and alert dive across the right-hand side of the net. The dive and subsequent punch resulted in the Cyclones earning one last corner attempt.
With the clock ticking under 10, ISU served a bouncing corner kick that deflected way outside the 18-yard box and somehow found a wide-open Gillahan. The freshman goalkeeper ripped a shot that White was able to catch and secure all the way to the ground as time expired.
In the 1-0 victory, White made three clutch saves, recording her program-best 37th all-time clean sheet and 11th of the season. The fifth-year senior is now tied for third single-season clean sheet mark.
White’s save percentage now sits over 86 percent for the season, as she has allowed just eight goals in 18 matches overall and allowed just four goals in 10 Big 12 matches. White recorded seven of her 11 shutouts on the season against Big 12 foes.
Picked fifth in the preseason poll, coach Tom Stone and the Red Raiders left no doubt, winning the league with an unblemished 8-0-2 mark and in convincing fashion. Tech trailed for less than 40 minutes in 10 Big 12 matches and stood at least tied atop the tables for the entire Big 12 slate.
The No. 5 ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders enter the Big 12 Championship, fresh off securing the first Big 12 regular season title in program history. Tech secured the outright solo title with a critical 1-0 road win over Iowa State last Monday. In that contest, junior Ashleigh Williams scored her 14th goal of the season, becoming just the fourth Red Raider in program history to reach 14 goals in a season. The victory extended Tech’s unbeaten streak to 25 and the Big 12 unbeaten streak to 16.
Williams’ strike was also her 31st career goal as the Allen native moved into fourth all-time on the all-time scoring list. The goal served as the game-winner, as Williams now has scored an NCAA-leading seven game winning goals.
Tech goalie Madison White was a major factor in the victory, as White recorded her 11th clean sheet of the season and 36th career shutout. Already the programs’ leader in shutouts, White currently sits within the top-five nationally in shutouts and is inside the top-10 (8th) in goals-against-average.
Ahead of the 2023 Big 12 Championship, the Big 12 Conference and the leagues’ coaches voted for the 2023 All-Big 12 Team and yearly honors. Tech was extremely well represented as four Red Raiders took home ‘of the year’ awards including Coach of the Year (Tom Stone), Goalkeeper of the Year (Madison White), Defender of the Year (Hannah Anderson) and Freshman of the Year (Sam Courtwright). Tech placed five players on the Big 12 First Team highlighted by selections by Anderson, Courtwright and White. The trio were joined by Macy Blackburn and Ashleigh Williams. Tech’s five All-Big 12 selections were the most in the league this season and the most in program history. Forward Alex Kerr was the sixth Red Raider to make one of the two teams, as Kerr took home second team honors. Courtwright and classmate Chloe Soto were also selected to All-Freshman team.
SCOUTING THE BEARCATS:
• Fresh off an exciting 3-2 victory over Baylor, Cincinnati enters Monday’s match riding a bit of momentum. The Bearcats are unbeaten in back-to-back matches and have earned a win or draw in five of the last six matches. The lone loss for UC in that stretch was a 1-0 setback against UCF.
• Cincy made the 2023 Big 12 Championship last week on the backs of a 1-1 draw at WVU and the Red Raiders 1-0 win over Iowa State.
• In Saturday’s win over Baylor, Cincinnati recorded its fourth win of the season, scoring a season-high three goals. The final goal came from grad student Kendall Battle who headed home a corner kick service from Ashley Barron. The goal by Battle was her first since the 2021 season.
• UC raced out to a 2-0 lead with just 40 minutes to play before Baylor tied the match at two. Barron’s game-winner came 51 seconds into the 83rd minute of action. Goalie Anna Rexford recorded six saves to push Cincinnati to its first Big 12 Tournament win in school history and the first postseason win since 2021.
With a victory, Tech will meet the winner of Texas and West Virginia on Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. from the Round Rock Multipurpose Complex.
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