Red Raider Soccer reports for 2016 season - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Red Raider Soccer reports for 2016 season

2015 Team Photo (Source: Texas Tech Athletics) 2015 Team Photo (Source: Texas Tech Athletics)

Provided by Texas Tech Athletics

LUBBOCK, Texas - Fresh off its first Big 12 Championship in program history, Texas Tech began preparations for the 2016 soccer season on Wednesday with a full team practice at the John Walker Soccer Complex.

"This is a new day for a lot of young player who are now getting a chance to play," head coach Tom Stone said. "As college coaches you hope that you recruit well and have young players that can come in and do well and so far it is looking like that is the case. This is group is eager and has a high appetite for learning and so far it has been a great day and a half days for us."

The Red Raiders, who will begin the 2016 season with an exhibition match against Denver on Aug., 13, return their entire defensive back line off their 2015 roster that held opponents to just 18 goals in 2015, while recording 11 shutouts in 2015. The Red Raiders will, however, be looking to replace most of their offensive attack including all-time Texas Tech leading goal scorer Janine Beckie and Caity Heap who combined for 18 goals in 2015.

"It is exciting to see players like Jade King, Gwennie Puente, Jordan Duke come out and compete," Stone added. "It is the same way I felt when Beckie and Heap got here. When that class got here we had lost Don Ward, Taylor Lytle, and Jessica Fuston who was the Big 12 Player of the Year, all of those players left and I got excited for the next class. We scored more goals in the spring than we ever have with those players gone. That is thrilling for coaches. It is not a ten year college commitment, it's four and when it is time to go it is time to go. We are thrilled for all of those guys who have gone on and had success at the pro and international level, but now our focus is on these young one and it is really fun."

The successful spring season, that saw the Red Raiders pick up five wins over quality opponents, earned Texas Tech its second-highest preseason ranking ever on Monday as the Red Raiders were No. 19 in the top-25 poll released by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).

The Red Raiders open the 2016 regular season with seven-straight home matches, beginning with New Mexico on Aug. 19, at the John Walker Soccer Complex. The Red Raiders will host two teams who appeared in Tuesday's poll including meeting with No. 20 Arizona and No. 18 California on Aug. 26 and Sep. 2.

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