Hiatt, Zucchetto Pick Up Big 12 Awards in Week 9

Hiatt, Zucchetto Pick Up Big 12 Awards in Week 9

IRVING, Texas – The Big 12 announced Tuesday the recognition of Texas Tech’s Marissa Zucchetto as Defensive Player of the Week and Cassie Hiatt as Freshman of the Week. The honors come after Tech’s first Big 12 weekend road sweep since 2014, which was capped off by a dramatic comeback against Kansas on Sunday.

This is the second straight week Zucchetto has been recognized as the conference’s top defensive player and the third week this season. No other player in the Big 12 – at any position – has won three weekly awards this fall.

Zucchetto made six saves each in Tech’s road wins at Kansas State and Kansas, her only goal allowed coming in the 53rd minute against the Jayhawks. She shut out the Wildcats for her 10th of the season, which places her in a tie for first in the country while keeping her well in first in the Big 12. The Friday night clean sheet also counted as the 13th of her Tech career, which moved her into a tie for fourth in program history with Tina Rincon, who played from 2004-08.

“Weather can enhance and limit goalkeeper play,” said assistant coach Gibbs Keeton, referencing the rainy conditions under which Tech played in both games. “Zu found herself relying on her strong technical base on a wet surface all weekend without giving up any second chances or having any bobbles. She was the rock our team needed.”

Hiatt picked up recognition as Freshman of the Week for her clutch 89th-minute goal against Kansas. With 90 seconds left and Tech down a goal, Hiatt used her six-foot frame to rise above a crowded box on a free kick and head in the equalizer to force overtime. The momentum swing brought on by the score carried into overtime, where the Red Raiders quickly knocked one in to win the game in comeback fashion.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to be recognized as Freshman of the Week,” Hiatt said of her first career Big 12 award. “We practice set pieces all the time, and it finally paid off under extreme conditions.”

The goal was Hiatt’s third of the season, which is top among the team’s freshmen.

“Cassie arrived in Lubbock determined to be a force on our team immediately, and this is her third goal as a freshman right back,” said assistant coach Nick Hallam. “We have committed to her as a big attacking threat on set pieces. When we needed a big moment against KU, she found the box space we have targeted for her and she set herself correctly and made exceptional contact on the ball. It was a sublime finish under huge pressure and a pivotal moment in the game that led to our overtime victory.”

Hiatt, Zucchetto and the rest of the Red Raiders will hit the road for the fourth straight weekend later this week for a Friday night match at TCU. First touch is set for 7 p.m. in Fort Worth. Tickets may be purchased here.

—TECH—

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