The Texas Tech soccer team dropped its first match of the year on Friday night, falling to Pepperdine, 3-0, at Tari Frahm Rokus Field.
The Red Raiders (2-1-0) were held scoreless for the first time this season, as the Waves (1-1-1) picked up two first half goals, followed by an early second period tally to pick up their first win of the year. Tech was outshot 13-7 by the Waves, as freshman forward Ally Griffin and senior defender Rebekah O’Brien each posted two.
“It had all the makings of a really good game,” head coach Tom Stone said. “Both teams were playing well and we were sharp, then in a span of five minutes, we passed the ball to their center forward in the box for their first goal and we lost one of our starting forwards for the rest of the game. Our response to that kind of adversity is usually tremendous, but we did not see that response today and that was disappointing.”
The Waves struck first at the 11’ mark to give Tech its first deficit of the 2017 season. Pepperdine’s Devyn Gilfoy picked off the ball and beat the challenging Carissa Christensen for the early 1-0 lead.
“The challenge with Pepperdine is that they are very good at eating clock with their possession,” Stone said. “When they are gifted with the go-ahead goal, then they became twice as tough because they make you work very hard to get back in the game.”
A few minutes later, Tech worked the ball down the field and a crossing attempt by senior defender Cassie Conarty set up the first of four Red Raider corners of the night. The ensuing kick found the head of Griffin, but her shot went just wide right of the Pepperdine goal.
In the 24’, a foul by the Red Raiders set up a free kick from about 25 yards out. Pepperdine’s Visalli’s kick found Thomas in the box, who sent a header through a logjam and into the net to go up, 2-0.
Griffin would find another opportunity with less than five minutes left in the opening frame, after making a nice move to get around the defender near the top of the box. However, her shot traveled over the crossbar and would send the Red Raiders into the half down by two goals.
Pepperdine posted five shots, three on goal, in the first half, as Christensen recorded one save. It was a physical opening 45 minutes, as the two teams combined for 10 fouls, which the Waves committing six. Tech would finish the night with seven fouls, compared to Pepperdine’s 10.
The Waves went on the offensive early in the second half and converted for the 3-0 lead in the 49th minute. After a pair of passes from Maemone and Welch moved the ball to the top of the box, where Visalli slid a shot off the left post and in for the score.
“Pepperdine deserves a lot of credit on the third goal,” Stone said. “It was well-taken and it put the game away for them. However, I feel strongly that the first two were highly-preventable on our end.”
Tech posted five shots over the final 30 minutes of play, with one on goal as sophomore midfielder Savanna Jones lifted one from inside the box that was saved by Pepperdine’s keeper.
“Quite a bit goes into getting a game like this on the schedule and we feel we let this one get away,” Stone said. “We will look forward to the rematch with Pepperdine in Lubbock next season, but now we have to move on and get ready for San Diego.”
The Red Raiders head a couple hours south to take on the Toreros on Sunday, Aug. 27, at 8 p.m. CDT to wrap up this weekend’s competition.
(Courtesy: Texas Tech Sports Communications Department)
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