Soccer

TTU Soccer 2019: Non-Conference Review

We take a look at the story lines a month into the Texas Tech soccer season and what to look forward to as Big 12 play begins.

Tonight, the Texas Tech Soccer Team’s Big 12 slate begins. And so far, it has been an interesting season for the Red Raiders. There have been injuries, amazing performances, and upsets both good and bad.

Today, we’re to take a look at all of these and what to expect going into Big 12 play.

Non-Conference Slate In Review

Prior to the season, I stated that I expected an 8-1 record heading into conference play. Well, nine games into the season, the Red Raiders are 8-1, but I didn’t get the wins the loses exactly right.

Texas Tech started off the season with a bang, defeating San Diego State 6-1. But then, their shots fell flat against New Mexico, as they lost 1-0. Although it’s not an awful lost, it’s definitely one you don’t want.

The Red Raiders then came home for four games and really found themselves, outscoring their opponents 12-0. This was followed by a two game tournament in Pullman (WA.) where they defeated Loyola Marymount and UC Irvine by a couple goals.

The big win came this past weekend, but Texas Tech traveled to Tampa Bay to face No. 22 USF. Even though Texas Tech was out shot, they outscored the Bulls 2-1 to pull off the upset on the road.

Kirsten Davis capitalized off a bad turnover to take the lead, Charlotte Teeter had an impressive goal, and Madison White came in a quarter into the game and made some unbelievable saves in net.

So overall, this was a tad better than I expected from the soccer team. Despite their injuries, they look like a team right now that could compete for the Big 12 title.

Kirsten Davis May Be The Best Athlete On Campus

If you read Staking The Plains in the summer, you know that I typically make Top 10 lists from the past school year. Out of the 10 players I listed, nine of them have graduated or gone pro. So I am looking for new players throughout the school year to put on my list.

Right now, looking at all the fall sports, there is clear No. 1 thus far: Kirsten Davis. For those who aren’t paying close attention to soccer, she currently leads NCAA D1 in goals and points. No, that’s not a typo.

In nine games, she has 10 goals and 25 points, both of which are first place. In retrospect, all of last year, Davis had just seven goals and 21 points. In fact, the points and shots leaders  in the Big 12 had 29 points and 11 goals. Second place was 25 points and 10 goals. That’s insane.

Right now she leads the Big 12 in *takes deep breath* shots, shots per game, points, points per game, goals and goals per game. Davis has a decent shot to win Big 12 Player of the Year. Obviously how you perform in Big 12 play has a lot to do with the award, but she’s putting herself in the conversion.

The Texas Tech record  currently is 44 by recent Texas Tech Hall of Fame Inductee Kristy Frantz, and Janine Beckie’s best season was 38 points. It’s going to be tough to beat, but halfway through the regular season, she’s in position to break that record.

Why is she so dominant? Because her ability to get open shots. Using her explosive speed and great first touch, got a lot of open shots in the past (she was second in the league last year) but didn’t always finish. Now, she’s putting the ball in the net and capitalizing on her opportunities.

Depth Will Be The Key To Success

When I mentioned the top players on the team last year, I mentioned Davis, Jade King, Ally Griffin, Marissa Zucchetto, and Cassie Hiatt. Well, three of those players are currently injured, and two are likely not to return.

Griffin hadn’t played a game all year, and has a big brace on so she’s likely not to come back. King got hurt in the North Texas game, and didn’t participate in senior day because she is likely to redshirt. Zucchetto got slid into by a USF attacker on Saturday, and her status in the upcoming game in unknown.

That’s arguably three of your best four players sidelined. Fortunately, it appears that  the Red Raiders have a lot of depth this year. Macy Schultz has done a fine job on the attack, as have Jayne Lydiatt and Demi Koulizakis. Margaret Begley, who has battled injuries in her career, has stepped up when injuries in defense occurred.

The biggest replacement I thought came in Saturday’s win over USF. Madison White replaced Zucchetto about halfway through the first half and played outstanding the rest of the way. She was diving all over the place making the best saves I have seen from this team all season. Her one goal allowed was a 40 yard strike that was perfect.

If Zucchetto can’t go this weekend, White will be forced into the starting goalie role. If she played the way she played on Saturday, the team will be alright.

Thoughts Going Into Big 12 Play

Right now, the Red Raiders are the third highest ranked team in the Big 12 behind Oklahoma State and Kansas. Perhaps this is because I don’t watch much Big 12 soccer, but the teams I thought were going to compete for the title haven’t done well so far.

It looked like the schedule had all the harder games on the road and the easier ones at home, but now it appears that the harder games are at home and the easier games are on the road. This all starts when the Red Raiders host No. 25 Oklahoma State (7-0-2) tonight at 7 p.m. at the John Walker Complex.

They are the only team without a loss in the Big 12 thus far. They have tied Oklahoma and tied previously ranked SMU, but have seven wins, mostly over inferior competition like Texas Tech has. Their best win so far is an overtime win at Penn State. This will be a tough match for the Red Raiders and could decide the Big 12.

The other game this weekend is a home game against Oklahoma (5-3-2), who have played a ton of Power 5 teams, so their record may just be because of difficulty. They have losses to SMU, Arizona and Creighton, but have beaten Arkansas, Arizona State and Houston.

As far as Texas Tech’s lineup goes, they’ve been playing a 4-4-2 formation (four defenders, four midfielders, two forwards). The defenders look like it’s going to be Hiatt, Amanda Porter, Gabbie Puente and Hannah Anderson. Anderson is intriguing because she’s just a freshman, but has made a huge impact and has been taking the penalty kicks.

The midfielders look like it’s likely Charlotte Teeter, Jayne Lydiatt, Jordie Harr and a combination of Savanna Jones and Penelope Mulenga. Harr was an All-Big 12 player her sophomore year, but missed all of last season due to injury. But now she’s back and looks explosive once again. T

he forwards are likely Kirsten Davis and Demi Koulizakis, with Marissa Zucchetto in net when healthy. Macy Schultz will be a likely substitute off the bench if one of the forwards gets tired or he needs an extra attacker.

Of course there’s other players I could mention, and likely some of those players I listed above won’t start every game, but those are the main players I noticed through the first month of the season. It’s going to be fun Big slate, come out if you are in town and experience some Red Raider soccer.

 

 

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