The Morning Stake: Soccer Takes on Auburn Today; Okafor Proves Worthy

Fan Appreciation Day. Via the official site the Lady Raiders had their Fan Appreciation Dat yesterday, where the fans could watch practice.

“We love the opportunity to interact with the fans like this,” Whitaker said. “It gives us a chance to let them know how important they are to us. The fans are what make this program special–they always have and always will. They’re a big part of what we’re doing, so we enjoy this opportunity to thank them and have a chance for them to get to know our players better and have some fun with them.”

The Lady Raiders play on Saturday against at Southeastern Louisiana at the United Supermarkets Arena at 6:30 pm.

Soccer Ready for Auburn. Texas Tech’s match against Auburn is set for today at 1:00 pm in Florida:

The 15th–ranked Red Raiders advanced to the second round of play in the NCAA Championship for the fourth consecutive year. The Red Raiders, who defeated Conference USA tournament champion North Texas in the opening round of play, will face Auburn in a rematch of last year’s second round at Seminole Soccer Complex in Tallahassee, Fla., on Friday at 1:00 p.m.

The Red Raiders will enter the match on a six match winning streak dating back to October, 23. The Tigers enter Friday’s contest after getting past Southeastern Louisiana 1-0 in their opening round match. The Tigers finished fourth in the SEC regular season standings after finishing with 14 wins in regular season play. Auburn fought to a 2-2 tie with No. 16 South Carolina to open the SEC Championship, but after advancing on PK’s was ousted by No. 6 Florida in the second round 2-0. Texas Tech and Auburn will make the trip to Tallahassee, the host site of overall No. 1 seed, and top-ranked, Florida State.

The Future.

Washington Practicing at Both Defensive Line Spots. LAJ’s Don Williams checks in with Dt Broderick Washington, who the coaches are working at both positions and defensive line coach Mike Smith says that he is progressing:

Smith said Washington’s stoicism and toughness are the main attributes he’s displayed in his first semester in the program. His temperament reminds Smith of senior defensive end Pete Robertson when Robertson first got to Tech. Maybe that’s a reflection of longtime Longview coach John King.

“Coach King does a great job,” Smith said. “He’s an old-school guy, really coaches them hard. I’d say (Washington’s) toughness (stands out) and then his athletic ability.”

Okafor Makes Most of Opportunity. LAJ’s Don Williams writes that Emeka Okafor, the graduate transfer from Houston, has proven to be a terrific addition when players were injured this year.

“It’s been a real blessing,” Okafor said this week. “I’m glad I stuck through it to play, and I’m glad I got the opportunity to play at a Big 12 university and a talented (team), so it’s a really good deal for me.”

Eight Players Earn Academic All-Big 12. Congrats to the eight players who earned Academic All-Big 12!

Sophomore wide receiver and accounting major Cameron Batson (Oklahoma City, Okla./Millwood H.S.) was one of three players in the league who was nominated with a perfect 4.00 grade point average. Along with Batson, earning first team honors for Texas Tech were sophomore linebacker/mechanical engineering major Dakota Allen (Humble, Texas/Summer Creek H.S.), sophomore quarterback/business finance major Patrick Mahomes (Whitehouse, Texas/Whitehouse H.S.) and junior defensive back/sociology/criminology major Justis Nelson (Mesquite, Texas/Dallas Christian H.S.).

Taking home second team honors were senior wide receiver/MBA enrollee Brad Pearson (Lubbock, Texas/Monterrey H.S.), senior running back/kinesiology major DeAndre Washington (Missouri City, Texas/Thurgood Marshall H.S.), senior defensive back/agribusiness major John White (Bremond, Texas/Bremond H.S.) and senior punter/kickoff specialist/marketing major Taylor Symmank (McKinney, Texas/McKinney Boyd H.S.).

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