Top-25 Battle Awaits No. 16 Texas Tech at Notre Dame

Red Raiders face the 11th-ranked Fighting Irish at 6:30 p.m. CT Friday to open Notre Dame Invitational
LUBBOCK, Texas (Texas Tech Press Release) – Texas Tech will receive its biggest test of the non-conference slate this weekend when the 16th-ranked Red Raiders travel to face No. 11 Notre Dame in a 6:30 p.m. CT battle Friday evening at Alumni Stadium. The match, which opens Tech’s weekend at the Notre Dame Invitational, will be the first of two against current ranked non-conference opponents this season for the Red Raiders, who will also face No. 21 California on Sept. 12. Tech closes the Notre Dame Invitational on Sunday morning with a 10 a.m. CT kickoff against Eastern Michigan.
 
RED RAIDERS SET TO FACE HIGHEST RANKED NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENT SINCE 2010
Texas Tech head coach Tom Stone has never been one to shy away from an early-season match against a top-25 team during his tenure. The eighth-year head coach will have the Red Raiders in another top-25 battle Friday evening against No. 11 Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish will be the highest ranked non-conference opponent for the Red Raiders to face since the last time Tech and a then-No. 3 Notre Dame team met in 2010. This is the fourth time since 2010 where the Red Raiders have gone on the road to face a ranked opponent as Tech fell at No. 13 Florida in 2011 before defeating No. 20 Long Beach State in 2012. The Red Raiders will also travel to No. 21 California later this year for a Sept. 12 contest.
       texas tech against ranked non-conference opponents under tom stone
       Date                          Opponent                                                                  Result
       Sept, 4, 2010          at No. 3 Notre Dame                                                L, 0-2
       Sept. 2, 2011          at No. 13 Florida                                                         L, 0-3
       Sept. 14, 2012       at No. 20 Long Beach State                     W, 3-2 (2OT)
 
TEXAS TECH IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
The Red Raiders moved up in each of the collegiate soccer polls this week, rising as high as No. 12 in the Soccer America rankings. The Red Raiders, who opened the year in the preseason top-25 polls for the second-consecutive season, jumped up 10 spots in the Soccer America rankings, marking the highest Tech has ever appeared in the poll. Tech moved up a spot in each of the other two polls as well, moving to No. 16 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire top-25 rankings and then No. 14 in the weekly poll by Top Drawer Soccer. This is the 12th-consecutive week that the Red Raiders have appeared in the NSCAA rankings, their longest streak in any of the three polls.
 
INSIDE THE NOTRE DAME SERIES
Texas Tech and Notre Dame will be meeting for the third time in each school’s history on Friday. The Fighting Irish have won each of the previous two contests, shutting out the Red Raiders in both matches following a 3-0 victory on Sept. 12, 2004, in Lubbock and then a 2-0 win on Sept. 5, 2010, in South Bend. Friday night’s match will be the lowest Notre Dame has ever been ranked when facing the Red Raiders as the Fighting Irish were No. 2 in the country in 2004 and then No. 3 nationally in 2010.
 
INSIDE THE EASTERN MICHIGAN SERIES
This is the first ever meeting between Texas Tech and Eastern Michigan. The Eagles are one of five first-time opponents for the Red Raiders this season, joining California (Sept. 12), Abilene Christian (Sept. 14), Memphis (Sept. 21) and UC Riverside (Sept.  28).
 
RED RAIDERS OPEN 2014 WITH 5-0 ROUT OF ORAL ROBERTS
Texas Tech opened its season with a victory for the seventh-straight year this past Sunday with a 5-0 rout over Oral Roberts at the John Walker Soccer Complex. Five different Red Raiders scored in the rout, beginning with Megan McCullough in just the seventh minute. Janine Beckie (11th minute) and Hannah Devine both added first-half goals to give Tech a 3-0 lead at the half before Caity Heap and Cassie Conarty connected on goals of their own over the final 45 minutes. The shutout victory was Tech’s sixth in its last seven season openers as the Red Raiders out-scoring opponents by an impressive 21-1 margin during that stretch. The 5-0 rout also matched the largest margin of victory for Tech all-time in a season opener.
 
MURPHY SETS TEXAS TECH ASSISTS RECORD IN SEASON OPENER
Alli Murphy etched her name into the Texas Tech record book in the season-opening rout of Oral Roberts where the junior midfielder dished out a single-match record four assists. Murphy contributed to Tech’s final four goals in its 5-0 victory as she found four different Red Raiders for goals. Her four assists broke the previous Tech single-match record of three that was set by former Red Raider great Taylor Lytle on Sept. 4, 2009, at TCU. Murphy, despite just playing one match during the first weekend of the season, ended the week as the Big 12 leader for assists and among the conference leaders for points.
 
MCCULLOUGH, CONARTY CONNECT ON FIRST CAREER GOALS AGAINST ORU
The Oral Roberts victory was a special one for sophomore defender Meaghan McCullough and freshman defender Cassie Conarty who both scored their first career goal in the rout. McCullough connected on the first of five goals for the Red Raiders, taking a failed clear attempt by Oral Roberts and firing a liner from 24 yards out that sailed up and over ORU goalkeeper Maddie Rhodes. Conarty, meanwhile, added Tech’s final goal as she knocked in an Alli Murphy corner kick in the 7th minute. She was the first Red Raider freshman to score in a season opener since Janine Beckie did so in 2012 against Idaho.
 
watson GARNERS FIRST CAREER START, shutout AGAINST ORAL ROBERTS
Texas Tech sophomore goalkeeper Lauren Watson earned her first career start in front of the net Sunday evening against Oral Roberts where she played all 90 minutes in the 5-0 victory. The shutout was the first in Watson’s career as she collected two saves in the rout. Watson joined former Tech goalkeeper Victoria Esson (2011-13) as the only Red Raiders to record a full, 90-minute shutout in their first career start during the Tom Stone era (2007-present).
 
FEARLESS FANS PACK JOHN WALKER SOCCER COMPLEX FOR SEASON OPENER
Since the John Walker Complex opened in 2008, large crowds have become quite normal as Texas Tech has averaged roughly 1,000 fans each of the past four seasons. That statement was true again this past Sunday when 1,811 fans - the third largest crowd in John Walker Soccer Complex - watched the Red Raiders hand Oral Roberts a 5-0 season-opening loss. It was the largest crowd to ever watch a Texas Tech season opener, breaking the previous mark of 1,584 in 2013 when the Red Raiders hosted Colorado State.
       HOME OPENER ATTENDANCE (Last four seasons)
       Year            Opponent                     Attendance
       2014            Oral Roberts                              1,811
       2013            Colorado State                         1,584
       2012            Idaho                                            1,117
       2011            Rice                                               1,215
       2010            TCU                                               1,356
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