LUBBOCK, Texas – The Texas Tech soccer team returns to the road for the second consecutive weekend and heads west to California for a set of matches on Aug. 25-27 in Malibu and San Diego.
The Red Raiders (2-0-0) take on Pepperdine on Friday, Aug. 25, at 5 p.m. CDT at Tari Frahm Rokus Field, then goes south for a date with San Diego to wrap up the road trip on Sunday, Aug. 27, at 8 p.m. CDT at Torero Stadium. Live stats for both matches will be available through GameTracker, with live streams through The W. TV on WCCSports.com.
“We’ll face two talented west coast teams this weekend,” head coach Tom Stone said. “Pepperdine is going to be ready to go. They split last weekend, so they’re looking to get back on track. And San Diego is going to be fresh and hungry off their opening weekend, so it’s certainly our biggest challenge so far.”
Just like the opening round of the 2017 season, this weekend will mark the first time the Red Raiders have squared off with either the Waves or Toreros. Tech is no stranger to the golden state though, as they’ve traveled to California in three of the last four years. In September, the Red Raiders will face two more Californian programs in San Diego State (Sept. 15) and Cal State-Northridge (Sept. 17), both in Lubbock.
The first week of the 2017 season was good to the scarlet & black, as the Red Raiders returned home from Albuquerque with a pair of 1-0 victories over Grand Canyon and San Francisco.
Tech’s season opener vs. GCU featured a hero in the foot of junior defender Hannah Fernandez. The Van Alstyne, Texas, native checked into the match in the 68’ and buried her first collegiate goal two minutes later into the bottom left corner of the net on a ball for the eventual game-winning tally.
Sunday’s match against USF needed double overtime to solve. Despite racking up 30 shots for the first time since 2014, including 11 on goal, it was a penalty kick at 105’ that decided the contest. After a foul by the Dons in the box after a corner kick, junior midfielder Carly Wickenheiser lined up for the PK and scored the golden goal to cap off a perfect 2-0 weekend.
“We saw a lot of offense and some great offensive execution all the way up until the final shot,” Stone said. “The goalkeeper on Sunday played fantastic against us, but we created enough chances to score those other goals. The problem last year was you might create three or four chances and hope to get one. We probably created seven or eight on Friday and 15 on Sunday. Obviously, the goal-to-chance ratio needs to improve, but we’re excited about being on the front porch, we just have to kick the door down.”
The Waves & Torero’s opening weekend did not go as well as Tech’s did, as both teams enter their matches with the Red Raiders looking for their first win of the year. Pepperdine dropped an overtime match to Texas A&M in San Diego on Aug. 18 in the 94’, then played to a 1-1 draw against Virginia Tech on Aug. 20. San Diego fell in double overtime to Virginia Tech with a minute to go in the contest and capped the weekend with a 2-0 loss to Texas A&M in the Sunday bout. Friday’s match will be the home opener for the Waves, while Sunday’s is the third-straight home match for the Toreros.
Junior Carissa Christensen and freshman Marissa Zucchetto split time in between the pipes down the middle during the first two matches of the year, including the two overtime periods on Aug. 20 against San Francisco. In that contest, the duo put up four saves, two each, while helping Tech to two clean sheets to begin the year. Both of Christensen’s saves came within the first six minutes of the match, while Zucchetto’s came late in the day at the 83’ & 98’ marks. The duo did not face a shot that required a save during the season opener against Grand Canyon.
Sunday’s shot total of 30 by the Red Raider offense was the most since Tech put up 33 against Prairie View A&M in the first round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament. All 10 in front of the goalkeeper who started the match put up at least one shot, including two others off the bench against the Dons. Freshman forward Kirsten Davis led the way with nine overall, including five on goal, while junior midfielders Carly Wickenheiser & Gwennie Puente also put up three and two, respectively. Despite a total of that magnitude, the lone goal for the Red Raiders came on a PK in double overtime to seal the win.
Davis’ five shots on goal and nine overall were the most in a single match by a Red Raider since 2015. Her figures matched then-senior Janine Beckie against Oklahoma State on Oct. 2 in both, which resulted in two goals. Beckie would also record five more shots on goal two weeks later against Texas.
After this weekend’s competition, the Red Raiders will return home for their first match of the year at the John Walker Soccer Complex, when they take on Appalachian State on Sunday, Sept. 3, at 7 p.m.