LUBBOCK, Texas – Six Texas Tech seniors will be recognized prior to Friday night's match with Florida International, which will effectively kick off a two-game home stand for the 4-1-0 Red Raiders. The six to be honored – the last true seniors from the 2015 Big 12 Championship team – will include Cassie Boren, Jordan Duke, Hannah Fernandez and Gwennie Puente in addition to co-captains Brooke Denesik and Carly Wickenheiser.
"I'm excited to have everybody [from my family] here, and we've always had a good night on senior night," said senior defender Cassie Boren. "The emotions are always so high that everybody just puts everything out on the field. I think Friday night's game will just be so exciting, fun and passionate, and I'm looking forward to that."
The two-match home stand, which will see the Red Raiders taking on Florida International and Oregon State, comes on the heels of Tech's first loss of the fall. Despite the frustration of being on the losing end of a game in which they dominated possession, the Red Raiders remain confident and poised to bounce back at home.
"I think we were pretty mad about the weekend and the result, but I think how we came out Tuesday at practice really shows how ready we are for the weekend," said Boren. "We are super excited to have another opportunity to play, and everyone is fired up and ready."
"We're looking to get back into the win column," said head coach Tom Stone, who Wednesday celebrated the 11th anniversary of his first win at Texas Tech. "Any time you turn the page and head off to another game, you're excited about it. In this case, we need to have a great weekend to keep our season going."
First touch for Friday's match is scheduled for 7:15 p.m., and senior ceremonies will take place 15 minutes prior. Sunday's match with Oregon State will be a 7 p.m. start.
A STANDOUT CLASS
The 2018 senior class contains six of the remaining nine Red Raiders from the 2015 Big 12 Championship squad. Five of this year's six seniors saw playing time in the title match, and three of them – Boren, Denesik and Puente – were in the starting lineup that day as true freshmen.
Cassie Boren, a defender from Albuquerque, N.M., is the lone Red Raider outside of net to have played in all 90 matches so far this season. A mainstay on the back line, Boren has led Tech to 28 shutouts in her career heading into Friday night.
Brooke Denesik, a defender from Anthem, Ariz., was Tom Stone's first signee out of the state of Arizona. She is in her second season serving as co-captain with fellow senior Carly Wickenheiser. One of five Red Raiders that has spent time in camp with the U.S. Youth National Team, Denesik has started in a team-leading 58 matches in her career. She joins Boren and Wickenheiser on a back line that has shut out 28 teams over the past four years.
Jordan Duke, a midfielder from Amarillo, Texas, has appeared in 57 matches in her Red Raider career. Duke was the assister of Puente's game-winning goal in the 2015 Big 12 Championship. Duke has been integral in Tech's strong defense over the years, but she has proven able to cause concern on the attack as well; she scored the game-winner against Abilene Christian two weeks ago.
Hannah Fernandez, a defender from Van Alstyne, Texas, has appeared in 19 matches in her career, including two this season. She has one career goal, a game-winner against Grand Canyon last fall. She earned First Team All-Big 12 Academic last year with distinguished marks.
Gwennie Puente, a forward from Fort Worth, Texas, may be best known for scoring the game-winner in the 2015 Big 12 Championship. A two-time Second Team All-Big 12 selection, Puente has tallied eight goals in her career. At 64 career appearances, Puente ranks second on the team behind captain Carly Wickenheiser.
Carly Wickenheiser, a midfielder/defender from St. Louis, Mo., leads all active Red Raiders in career appearances with 66 heading into Friday night. Wickenheiser is in her second season serving as a co-captain with fellow senior Denesik. After spending three years as a midfielder, Wickenheiser has this year made the jump back to defender, where she joins fellow seniors Boren and Denesik to form an experienced back line that has shut out three of the team's five opponents so far this season.