SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The Texas Tech soccer team put together some late-match heroics and finished off its California road trip with a 1-0 victory over San Diego Sunday night at Torero Stadium.
The Red Raiders (3-1) scored in the 85th minute to secure the win over the Toreros (0-3). Freshman forward Kirsten Davis recorded the tally for her first collegiate goal of her young career, with a handy assist from sophomore midfielder Gwennie Puente.
“We knew we were up against it tonight,” head coach Tom Stone said. “San Diego had nine days rest and we had 48 hours and had to travel, but the team responded extremely well. We knew we had to get a result tonight and we are thrilled to have done so.”
With time winding down in the match, a pass from junior defender Brooke Denesik found Puente at the top of the box, who chipped a perfect pass to Davis on the right wing. Davis challenged for a couple steps then sliced a shot through the keeper’s legs and into the back of the net for the game-winning goal. It was the third second-half goal for the Red Raiders this season.
“We had missed two sitters and a PK, plus their keeper had robbed us of the bomb Jordie [Harr] hit, so we felt it was coming,” Stone said on Davis’ goal. “Ally Griffin created havoc for the other team all night. She slammed one off the post and drew the PK that we missed. Finally, KD turned the corner and put the game away with her first college goal of her career. It couldn’t have come at a better time.”
Tech finished the night with 20 shots, including seven on goal. The defense stood tall again on Sunday, posting its third clean sheet in four matches, as junior Carissa Christensen and freshman Marissa Zucchetto split time in net. The Toreros ended the night with seven shots and three on goal. Sophomore midfielder Jordie Harr led the team with seven shots, with three on net.
The Red Raiders found several offensive opportunities early in the contest, picking up three great scoring chances within the first 11 minutes of the match. A pass in the opening minute found Harr in the box, but her shot would go just over the net and out of play.
At the 10’ mark, freshman Ally Griffin maneuvered around the challenging Torero keeper, and rifled a shot on goal, but a USD defender moved to the backline and made the save and forced a corner kick. The corner was met by a logjam in the center of the box and met junior midfielder Carly Wickenheiser, who lifted a close-range shot mere inches above the crossbar.
Throughout the period, Tech came up with a cavalcade of great scoring chances, as the Red Raiders earned four of their six corner kicks on the night. Two of Tech’s best chances came off shots from Harr in the 30’ & 37’ of the opening frame. Harr rifled off the first from the left corner of the box & one from 30 yards out in front, both of which were saved by the outstretched fingertips of the USD goalkeeper and sent over the net to thwart a pair of Red Raider tallies.
Tech ended the first frame with 13 shots, including three on net, compared to USD’s four & two on goal, as Christensen wrapped up two saves in between the pipes for the Red Raiders.
“Both teams had good chances and USD has some excellent pace up top,” Stone said. “I thought we had it won when we got the PK, but we missed it. Luckily, we got back to business and started going after them again, so once again we had a good response.”
Harr wasted no time creating an opportunity in the second half, repeating her first half-first minute shot and sent another one a little high of the net. Shortly after, San Diego was whistled for a foul, setting up a Red Raider PK for the second time in three matches. Unfortunately, this time Tech was unsuccessful on the attempt.
At the 57’ mark, Tech had a couple chances to find the first goal of the night, as a shot from Harr was blocked and found its way to Griffin, who dinged an attempt off the right post. Thirty seconds later, midfielder Mary Heiberger chipped a pass past a Torero defender and up to Davis, who worked her way to right side of the goal and send a shot into the mitt of USD’s keeper.
After Davis’ shot, a lot of time was spent working in and out of the attacking zone, with several quality chances but nothing to show for it. Finally, she had something to show for it as her fourth shot of the night found the back of the net for the Red Raider win.
Tech returns home and gets an extended time to recover before hosting Appalachian State on Sunday, Sept. 3, at 7 p.m. at John Walker Soccer Complex.