LUBBOCK, Texas – Sophomore Sarah Ellison scored her third goal of the season in leading Texas Tech soccer to a 1-0 victory over Oral Roberts to capture the Red Raider Classic title Sunday afternoon at the John Walker Soccer Complex.
The first half was a sluggish and slow affair. Although Tech (7-1) had most of the possession, chances were few and far between as Oral Roberts (3-3) played some particularly good defense up the middle of the field. The half ended with shot totals standing at 6-2 in favor of the Red Raiders but neither team was under much real pressure though the first 45 minutes.
Ellison said that halftime was a turning point for the team.
"We had a good halftime chat that really got us to recommit ourselves to the game," said Ellison. "We came out a lot more aggressive for the second half."
The Red Raiders, playing with a renewed sense of urgency, rattled off 17 shots in the second half and pressured Oral Roberts into several turnovers in their own end. The breakthrough chance finally came in the 56th minute when freshman Jessica Disabella received the ball off of a junior Maggie Fete header at midfield, turned and played a slip pass to Ellison who ran behind the Oral Roberts backline. From there, it was all Ellison who ran onto the pass and beat the Oral Roberts keeper from the right side of the 18 yard box to give Tech the lead and the win.
"I can't say enough about Sarah Ellison today," stated head coach Tom Stone. "She was relentless in the second half in her pursuit of the game winner. Two-straight years, when the team has needed her to step up for us, she has had some big moments. One thing for sure, Sarah is very comfortable in front of goal and thankfully she was on the money today."
Sophomore Erin Wikelius got her second-straight shutout of the season and of her career as she played all 90 minutes in the nets collecting four saves.
Tech outshot Oral Roberts 23 to 6 and had six corner kicks to ORU's one.
"Clearly this was not our best weekend from a performance standpoint but we managed to find a way to win in both contests and that is a great sign for our young team," Stone said. "To win, when you are not at your best, is a trait of a resilient team and we continue to be very hard to score on. In particular, I think our back line, led by Casey McCall was solid all weekend. Whitney Sharp and Haley Fowler were just outstanding logging most of the 180 minutes on the weekend."
In the first game on Sunday, North Texas shutout Lamar, 3-0.
Six Red Raiders were received tournament honors as Ellison, junior Taylor Lytle, sophomore Tiffini Smith and freshman Jessica Disabella were all named to the all-tournament team, while sophomore Haley Fowler was named the Defensive MVP and Wikelius was the Goalkeeper MVP.
The Red Raiders conclude the non-conference portion of their schedule on Fri., Sept. 17, at Alabama. The match will kick-off at 7 p.m. in Tuscaloosa.
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