LUBBOCK, Texas – Coming off an 8-1 non-conference slate, No. 22 Texas Tech will enter Big 12 play by taking on the Mountaineers of West Virginia. Both squads enter the conference opener on winning streaks – the Red Raiders are winners of their last four and the Mountaineers have won three in a row.
Tech's 8-1 start – the program's best since 2014 – has them sitting at 22nd in the United Soccer Coaches rankings. To head coach Tom Stone, though, it is the team's view of itself that is the most influential.
"I think the internal standard is bigger than anything anybody can put on us," said Stone. "The girls just want to win. We have a bunch of seniors, and we want to play for them and they want to play for everybody else. The freshman are feisty, too. We just have that right dynamic in the outlook of being competitive."
The Red Raiders enter Friday unbeaten at home, boasting a perfect 5-0 record at the John Walker Soccer Complex while outscoring opponents 14-1 in the process. Sophomore keeper Marissa Zucchetto has sent four of Tech's five visitors home without a goal to show for their trip to Lubbock. Contributing to that perfect home record on offense is Jade King, who has scored half of her team-leading six goals at home.
"I think the offense has gotten a lot better since last year," King said after practice Wednesday. "The chemistry has helped so much. We're practicing every day at combining with each other and playing off each other and learning how we all play. Focusing on that has made our offensive game pick up so much."
Friday's meeting between the conference foes will be the 10th installment of the Big 12 showdown, which dates back to West Virginia's joining the conference in 2012. The Mountaineers hold a 6-2-1 advantage in those meetings. The last Red Raider victory came in 2015, when Janine Beckie nailed a game-winner to send No. 18 Tech past No. 2 West Virginia in the second round of the Big 12 Tournament. The Red Raiders would go on to win their first-ever conference title that year. Last fall, Tech tied the Mountaineers in the regular season, 1-1 in double overtime, before losing to them in the conference tournament.
This year's iteration will be the sixth straight regular season meeting where at least one of the teams is nationally ranked. It will be first time since 2012, however, that West Virginia has not held a national ranking this far into the season. Friday's match will be just the third time the two have faced off at the Walker Complex, the six previous meetings taking place in either Morgantown or Kansas City.
First touch for Friday's match is at 7:15 p.m. Tickets may be purchased here.