CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Texas Tech's run in the NCAA Tournament came to a dramatic close Friday evening at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Making its second-straight NCAA Second Round appearance, Tech battled Texas A&M to a 2-2 draw before the Aggies took the match in a penalty kick shootout 4-3. With the loss, Texas Tech ends its historic 2013 season with an 18-2-3 record.
"The first thing is I just want to tell everyone how proud we are of this team," Texas Tech head coach Tom Stone said. "We had a tremendous season. We had one of the best defenses in the country and I think we showed that again tonight. Losing in penalties is brutal, because you play hard, the game is tied but it has to be settled."
Tech's 18 victories mark a new school record while the Red Raiders also set a new program best with 17 shutouts including a 3-0 victory over Minnesota in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Tech allowed just nine goals in 23 matches on the year while scoring 48 of its own.
Sophomores Janine Beckie and Briana Rohmer provided the scoring effort for the Red Raiders, while all four goals in the game came in the second half. Defensively, Red Raider goalkeeper Victoria Esson matched her career-high from earlier this season with 10 saves on the night.
Moments after a scoreless first period, Rohmer put Tech up 1-0 less than two minutes into the second half with her fifth goal of the season. A sophomore from Fort Worth, Rohmer took a long feed from teammate Alli Murphy downfield and beat Texas A&M goalkeeper Jordan Day with a shot from inside the penalty box in the 47th minute to give Tech the first lead of the match.
Texas A&M found the equalizer in the 60th minute when Annie Kunz headed in a goal off a deflection inside the 6-yard box. The Aggies had a handful of opportunities in front of the Tech net before the score, including a diving save by Esson to her left.
Tech responded when Beckie gave the Red Raiders their second lead of the night with 15 minutes remaining in regulation by way of her team-leading 12th score of the season. Beckie took a long pass downfield before beating Day one-on-one and punching the ball into the back corner of the net.
"It was an incredible ball," Beckie said. "She placed it right where it needed to be, and I just knew I had to go to goal with this. It was do-or-die, our lives were on the line and I just wanted to get this win."
Beckie, an All-Big 12 First Team forward, ends her sophomore campaign in the top-five all-time at Texas Tech in scoring with 26 career goals. She's also already No. 4 all-time in career points with 61.
Texas A&M then responded once more when Shea Groom netted her 14th goal of the year to knot the game at 2-2 with less than 10 minutes remaining in regulation. Her score came after a header by teammate Rachel Lenz hit off the cross bar before Groom took the rebound and headed it into the Red Raider net.
The two squads went into overtime where neither team could find the back of the net after two 10-minute overtime periods before Tech found itself in its first shootout situation since the 2009 season. Texas A&M connected on each of its first four penalty kicks in the shootout while Day made back-to-back saves on shots by Jade Dapaah and Alli Murphy.