LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech makes its return to the NCAA Tournament Friday when the No. 18 Red Raiders host Minnesota at 7 p.m. in the first round at the John Walker Soccer Complex. The Red Raiders are making their second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Soccer Championship.
Tech (17-2-2) enters the match after advancing to the semifinals of the Big 12 Championships in Kansas City, and is 9-1 in matches played at home this season. With a win Friday, Tech will set a new school record for home victories in a single season.
Friday’s match will mark the second meeting in series history between the Red Raiders and Golden Gophers and the first under Tech head coach Tom Stone.
Tech enters the NCAA Tournament with 16 shutouts on the season while just two opponents have scored on the Red Raiders in 10 home matches.
TECH RETURNS TO THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
Texas Tech will make its second NCAA Tournament appearance in program history, and second in as many seasons Friday night when the Red Raiders host Minnesota Friday at the John Walker Soccer Complex. Tech advanced to the second round of the 2012 NCAA Soccer Championship and enters Friday’s match 9-1 in games played at the John Walker Soccer Complex this season.
THE MINNESOTA SERIES – MINNESOTA LEADS 1-0-0
Friday marks the second-ever meeting between Texas Tech and Minnesota and the first in the Tom Stone Era. The only previous match between the two programs came in Lubbock in 2005 when the Golden Gophers shutout Tech 2-0.
TECH FINISHES PROGRAM BEST 2ND IN the BIG 12
Texas Tech won a school record 16 matches in the regular season on its way to finishing a program-best second in the Big 12 standings. The Red Raiders were the only team to go unbeaten in conference play while ending in draws at both Oklahoma State and Baylor. Tech gave up just two goals in Big 12 play this year and is on pace to break the league record for goals-allowed.
TECH SETS SCHOOL RECORD FOR ALL-CONFERENCE SELECTIONS
Texas Tech set a school record with five Red Raiders selected to the postseason All-Big 12 Teams announced by the conference office Monday. Three Red Raiders were tabbed by the conference coaches as First Team selections while two were named to the Second Team. Meanwhile, two Red Raiders were named to the All-Big 12 Newcomer Team.
IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
Texas Tech enters the NCAA Tournament ranked No. 18 in the NSCAA rankings released Tuesday. The Red Raiders appear in the top-20 of each of the four major college soccer polls including a No. 14 ranking in the Soccer Times rankings.
TECH DEFENSE AMONG TOPS IN THE COUNTRY
The Texas Tech defense has proven to be one of the top units in the country this season allowing just seven goals in 21 contests. The Red Raiders’ goals against average of just .325 ranks tops in the Big 12 and No. 3 nationally entering the NCAA Tournament. Meanwhile, Tech’s shutout percentage of .762 ranks No. 2 in the country as the Red Raiders have shutout 16 of their 19 opponents entering conference tournament action. Tech’s 16 shutouts are the most of any program in the country this season.
TECH BLANKS SCHOOL RECORD 16 OPPONENTS
The Texas Tech defense has been dominant in 2013 allowing just seven goals in 21 matches while shutting out a school record and nation-leading 16 opponents. In fact, only five opponents this season have found the back of the net against the Red Raiders. At home, Tech has allowed just four goals – three of which came in the second half of Tech’s 3-2 loss to Long Beach State. Tech is one of just two Big 12 programs (Baylor) to tally at least 10 shutouts in each of the last three seasons (2011-13).
RED RAIDERS CONTINUE TO PROTECT HOME FIELD
The John Walker Soccer Complex has emerged as one of the toughest environments for opposing teams since its completion prior to the 2009 season. In that span, the Red Raiders have won 37 of their 48 matches, more than 77 percent. More so, the Red Raiders have dropped just two matches on their home field in the last two seasons going 9-1 in 2012 and posting a 9-1 mark once again in 2013. A win over Minnesota would break the school record for most home wins in a single season.
RED RAIDERS SHOW BALANCE ON OFFENSIVE END
The Texas Tech offense has showed impressive balance this season as 14 different Red Raiders have found the back of the net. But that’s not all, 10 of those have scored at least twice and five have scored four or more times. The scoring power is led by sophomore and 2012 All-American Janine Beckie who has netted a team-high nine goals.
ESSON AMONG TOP GOALKEEPERS IN THE COUNTRY
Texas Tech senior Victoria Esson has established herself as one of the top goalkeepers in the country with her performance this season. Entering the NCAA Tournament, Esson ranks No. 4 nationally and No. 1 in the Big 12 with a .346 goals-against average through 21 matches. Esson has allowed just two goals in her previous 10 matches in front of the Texas Tech net. She has allowed just seven goals against all season, and just two goals in Big 12 play. The Christchurch, New Zealand native has already posted 14 shutouts –marking a single-season high for the all-time Texas Tech leader in the category.
BECKIE SCORES IN THREE-STRAIGHT
Texas Tech sophomore forward Janine Beckie, who enters the NCAA Tournament as Tech’s leading scorer, scored in three-straight matches for the first time in her career to end the regular season. Beckie netted the Red Raiders’ game-winner over Kansas, before scoring again to give the Red Raiders a 2-0 lead in the second half over West Virginia and the game-winner against Texas. The 2012 All-American has now scored in back-to-back matches five times in her career.
TECH’S SECOND HALF OUTBURSTS
The Red Raiders have proven to be dominant in the second half of play over the last three seasons. In 2012 alone, Tech outscored opponents 29-10 in the second half. In the last three seasons combined (2011-13), Tech has outscored opponents 60-27 in the final 45 minutes of play. This year, they have continued that trend, outscoring their first 12 opponents 18-6 in the second half. Against Colorado State earlier this year, Tech went off for four goals in the second half – the most by a Tech team in a single half of play since 2011 when the Red Raiders netted five in the second half against Arizona State.