LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech soccer was picked to finish fourth in the Big 12 standings, the conference office announced Thursday as part of the preseason poll, which is voted on by the league’s coaches.
The ranking marks the fifth-straight year the Red Raiders have been projected to finish in the top four of the league, which featured six teams in the NCAA Tournament in 2016, the most since 2011.
Tech was one of the six squads to earn a postseason berth from the No. 1 RPI conference in the country, after finishing eighth in the Big 12 last season. The NCAA Tournament appearance was the program’s fifth-straight, as the Red Raiders concluded the year with a 9-9-2 record.
Nineteen letterwinners return from the 2016 team, which features all of its goal scorers & a majority of its starting defense, while 11 freshman join the fray. The 2017 campaign is the program’s 24th season and 11th under head coach Tom Stone.
Included in the returning force are All-Big 12 midfielder Gwennie Puente and unanimous All-Big 12 Freshmen forward Jade King and midfielder Jordie Harr. Earlier this week, Harr was named to the Preseason All-Big 12 list, making it the eight-straight year Tech has been represented on the squad.
The Red Raiders face another strong slate of opponents in 2017. Eleven of Tech’s 18 matches are against teams that posted double digit win totals last season, while six were ranked by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) and five finished in the top 50 of the NCAA RPI rankings in 2016.
Before the regular season kicks off, Tech will make its annual trip to Denver to take on the Pioneers on Saturday, Aug. 12, at 7 p.m., at Pioneer Field. It is the fifth-straight year the Red Raiders will battle Denver in an exhibition contest, which will serve as the final tune-up before Tech travels to the Lobo Invitational on Aug. 18-20.