Texas Tech falls to North Texas in overtime

LUBBOCK, Texas - Juett Kendall put an end to a Texas Tech rally with her first goal of the season that sent North Texas to a 2-1 overtime victory over the Red Raiders Sunday afternoon at the UNT Soccer Field.

The Red Raiders had previously won their last three overtime matches, including Friday's 4-3 double-overtime victory over TCU. Tech had not lost a regular-season overtime match since the 2006 season.

"It was a tough loss to take given the number of times we had the ball in possession in the final third," Tech head coach Tom Stone said. "We just could not execute the final pass or shot to create the goal we needed to pull ahead and win it. This is our first overtime loss in the regular season in our three seasons, and we don't like the feeling after several overtime wins to our credit."

For the first time this season, Tech found itself without an opening lead as Michelle Young took a Kelsey Perlman pass up the left side to beat goalkeeper Erin Wikelius, giving the Mean Green an early 1-0 advantage in only the 12th minute.

For an offense that had previously netted at least two first-half goals in each of its last two matches, Tech was not be able to create any offense in the first half as the Red Raiders went into halftime trailing for the first time this season.

With the clock under 20 minutes, Tiffini Smith found no better time to net her first collegiate goal as the freshman took a Taylor Lytle and fired to the back corner to tie the match in the 74th minute. Lytle's assist was already her sixth on the season and followed her three-assist performance from Friday that set a new Tech school record.

Tech still had scoring opportunities as regulation winded down, but a corner kick in the 78th minute was negated by a foul. Dawn Ward and Conner Williams both had shot attempts in the final 10 minutes as part of Tech's 11-5 second-half shot advantage.

The Red Raiders could not create the same opportunities in the overtime period as the Mean Green attempted four shots to Tech's zero with the last being Kendall's game-winner that moved North Texas to 4-1 on the season. The loss drops Tech to 3-2 overall and snaps a two-match road winning streak.

"With Tiffini's goal, I thought we would go on to win it, but North Texas' best player jumped on a mistake in the back and got them the overtime win," Stone said. "We are thrilled with our scoring output, but concerned with our goals against. We still have to fine-tune our team defense and find the right combination as we move forward."

For the third-consecutive match, Wikelius played every minute in goal, collecting a season-high six saves, but Stone reiterated following the match that the goalkeeper battle between Wikelius and junior Colleen Pitts will continue when practice resumes Tuesday.

The Mean Green maintained 21-18 shot advantage over the Red Raiders, while also attempting four corner kicks to Tech's three. Smith led the Tech offense with six shot attempts, with five coming on-goal.

The Red Raiders complete their six-match road trip next weekend in Auburn, Ala., facing SEC powers Vanderbilt Fri., Sept. 11, and host Auburn on Sun., Sept. 13. Tech returns to the John Walker Soccer Complex to face Alabama Sept. 18 as part of the Red Raider Classic.