LUBBOCK, Texas – The Texas Tech soccer team has done something that the program has not done in 14 years, started off the season 3-0 as it got a 4-0 win at Northwestern State (0-3) Friday evening in Natchitoches, La., at Prather Coliseum.
Tonight also marked the first time in school history that the Red Raiders have started the season with three-consecutive shutouts.
Tech started off strong and hit the post in the opening minutes as freshman Jessica Disabella smashed in a rebound shot that clanged off the post and out.
The Red Raiders finally found the back of the net when sophomore Sarah Ellison played a square ball across the box that freshman Mallory Yacullo let run between her feet so that junior Taylor Lytle could run into it. Lytle calmly placed her shot to the far post and into the net in the 33rd minute. It was Lytle's third goal in as many games, and her second game-winning goal of the season.
Tech took the one goal lead into the half and head coach Tom Stone said that halftime was a bit heated.
"Well, we really had not played with any real aggression – our assertiveness was missing and I thought Northwestern State was very committed on the night," stated Stone. "I thought Yacullo, Ellison, Leanne (Christensen) and Madison (Terry) came off the bench and really made a difference for us in the first half. When they entered the game, our intensity went up a notch."
Although Tech outshot the Demons 24-2, the win was not secured until deep in the second half when Ellison finished a sophomore Dawn ward cross to put the game away at 2-0 in the 77th minute.
The second half saw zero shots from the Demons, but there were several flurries in front of the Tech goal and senior Colleen Pitts had to come collect some dangerous crosses in the early going.
"Northwestern State was still in it the second half and I thought they played lights out to try to get the game even," Stone said. "I thought Jimmy (Mitchell) did a great job with his kids tonight."
With a 2-0 lead, Tech controlled much of the remaining tempo and then Ward went to work on the scoreline. In the 80th minute, Disabella broke free at midfield and slipped a ball behind the Northwestern State backline for Ward to run onto. Ward bent the ball around the onrushing keeper to make it 3-0.
A few minutes later it was Ward again who received a nice pass from Ellison, which took her to the right side of the box. Ward fired a hard shot across the face of the goal, which found the far side netting and took the score to 4-0 with five minutes to go in the game.
Freshmen Margaret Gottsacker and Leah Christensen earned their first collegiate action as Tech played all 18 field players in the contest.
Pitts picked up the shutout as she played all 90 minutes in the nets with one save. It was her third-straight shutout and the sixth of her career.
Tech looks to continue its win streak as it takes on Rice on Sun., Aug.29, at 7 p.m., in Houston.