Texas Tech soccer gets final preseason test Friday

LUBBOCK, Texas - Texas Tech wraps-up its preparation for the 2009 season Friday night in its only exhibition match of the fall against West Texas A&M at 7 p.m. at the John Walker Soccer Complex.

After opening preseason camp Aug. 4, the Red Raiders have gone through a week full of two-a-day practices in preparation for the season opener Aug. 21 against UTSA. Tech is coming off an 8-10-1 season, which was good enough for an eighth place finish in the Big 12 and a spot in the Big 12 Championship, Tech's second-consecutive trip, a first in school history.

Entering head coach Tom Stone's third season, the Red Raiders return their largest group of upperclassmen in Stone's tenure with seven seniors. Adding to the group of returners will be sophomore midfielder Taylor Lytle, who finished the 2008 season with a team-high 18 points on five goals and eight assists on her way to earning All-Big 12 second and newcomer team honors. Her eight assists tied for second on the school's single-season chart and already moved her within the top 10 on Tech's career chart.

Tech adds nine freshmen to the team this year, including redshirt Dawn Ward, who missed the entire 2008 season after suffering a season-ending knee injury prior to fall camp. The freshman class represents Stone's first to be recruited for a full year since his hire in May 2007.

The Lady Buffs finished their 2008 campaign 16-4-1 overall and took the Lone Star Conference crown, playing on the NCAA Division II level. West Texas A&M was picked to defend its conference title earlier this week in a poll of its conference coaches, sports information directors and various media representatives.

"Every year we look forward to our preseason game with West Texas A&M," Stone said. "It's a great way to see how far we've come in preseason and look at our entire roster. This match should show us how far we've come in the preseason."

There is no admission fee for Friday's match. The Red Raiders open the regular season Aug. 21 at home against UTSA.