LUBBOCK, TX - Taylor Lytle gave Texas Tech a 1-0 lead a minute into the match, but Utah State rallied for three first-half goals en route to a 3-2 victory over the Red Raiders Friday in the first round of the Miner Classic in El Paso, Texas.
With the loss, the Red Raiders fall to 1-1 early in the season, while the Aggies, the preseason WAC champions, improve to 2-0.
"First of all, the credit goes to Utah State," Tech head coach Tom Stone said. "You can see why they are WAC champions. They have a direct way to score, and it caused our young backline some problems in the first half."
Lytle's goal in only the first minute was her first of the season and came off a Brittney Harrison cross, giving Tech an early 1-0 advantage.
Tech would let off the peddle from there, however, as Utah State recovered to net three goals in an eight-minute span to give the Aggies a 3-1 halftime lead.
The Red Raiders attempted a second-half comeback as Dawn Ward connected on her second goal of the season in the 72nd minute off the rebound from a Sarah Ellison pass.
Ward and Harrison both had shots at the goal late in the match, but Utah State goalkeeper Molli Merrill collected each save. With five minutes remaining in the match, Conner Williams nearly sent the Red Raiders into overtime, but the freshman's shot attempt went off the crossbar."
"We sorted out our problems in the second half and the comeback was there for the taking, but unfortunately we hit the post and the crossbar instead of the back of the net," Stone said. "Our freshmen learned some tough lessons tonight, but we will grow from this game."
Tech once against favored the two goalkeeper match-up as Colleen Pitts starting the match with Erin Wikelius coming in after halftime. The duo combined for three saves, while Wikelius continued her strong play as the freshman has yet to allow a goal in 90 minutes of action.
The Red Raiders maintained a 9-2 second-half shot advantage, while also attempting three corner kicks to the Aggies' one throughout the match. Ward and Lytle led the Tech offense with three shots each.
The Red Raiders conclude the Miner Classic Sunday afternoon against host UTEP. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. CT at University Field.