No. 25 Texas Tech women's soccer opens Big 12 play at Kansas, ho - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

No. 25 Texas Tech women's soccer opens Big 12 play at Kansas, home vs. Iowa State

Provided by Texas Tech Athletics Provided by Texas Tech Athletics

Provided by Texas Tech Athletics

LUBBOCK, Texas – The No. 25 Texas Tech soccer team begins the conference portion of the schedule on Friday, Sept. 23, on the road against Kansas at 7 p.m. at Rock Chalk Park in Lawrence. The Red Raiders will return home to square off with Iowa State at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 25, at the John Walker Soccer Complex.

Friday’s contest can be viewed via live stream on, while Sunday’s match is available through

The Jayhawks (5-3-2) enter the weekend coming off their own California swing, dropping a 2-0 decision to Southern California, followed by a 1-1 draw with Pepperdine. Tech and Kansas have met six times over the last four seasons, thanks to dates at the Big 12 Tournament in 2012 & 2015. The Cyclones (6-2-0) ride a two-match win streak into this weekend’s matchups, taking down Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1-0) and South Dakota (2-0) in each of the last two contests. Sunday’s match will be a top 35 RPI battle, as Iowa State checks in at No. 28, while Tech is ranked at No. 35 in the first RPI rankings of the year.

The Red Raiders wrapped up the non-conference portion of the season with a 7-1-2 record. Tech went on the road last weekend, battling Loyola Marymount to a 1-1 draw in Los Angeles on Friday, Sept. 16, before picking up a 1-0 victory over San Diego State two days later.

Junior defender Rebekah O’Brien netted the lone goal for the Red Raiders last weekend, notching her second tally of the season in the match at LMU. Sunday’s score came off an own goal from the Aztecs, making it the second time in 2016 the Red Raiders have benefited from an opponent own goal.

The Big 12 schedule is a daunting eight-match slate, with all but the first two dates coming during the month of October. After this weekend, Tech will host Oklahoma State (Oct. 7) & Baylor (Oct. 9) in Lubbock and will then hit the road for a three-match stretch at No. 5 West Virginia (Oct. 14), Texas (Oct. 21) & TCU (Oct. 23). The Red Raiders will conclude the regular season at the John Walker Soccer Complex against Oklahoma on Oct. 28, before the conference tournament the following week.

Despite going 3-0-1 over the last two weeks, the Red Raiders have dropped one spot in each of the last two polls, moving to No. 25 in this week’s National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) ranking, which was released on Sept. 20. It marks 20 consecutive weeks Tech has appeared in the top 25 of the poll. The Red Raiders debuted at No. 19 in the preseason poll on Aug. 2, and were ranked 16th and 15th the next two weeks, respectively, before slipping to No. 22. Two of Tech’s opponents also appear in the latest poll, with three others receiving votes.

Winning has pretty much become second nature for the Red Raiders the past four seasons under Tom Stone. During that stretch, Texas Tech has recorded 70 victories and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championship in each of the past four seasons. This is the winningest stretch for the Red Raiders in school history, as Tech won 16 matches in 2012 and then followed up with a school-record 18 victories in 2013. The Red Raiders then posted a 16 win season in 2014 and 14 in 2015. Heading into conference play this year, Tech has already amassed seven victories. That success has made Tech one of the most successful Big 12 programs the past four seasons.

Seven Red Raiders have notched their first career goals during the 2016 season. The last to do so was sophomore midfielder Jordan Duke, who tallied the lone goal over ORU with a header after locating a corner kick from sophomore defender Margaret Begley from the far side of the field. While three are freshman, the other half have come from two juniors (Rebekah O’Brien & Natalie Schmutz) and two sophomores (Cassie Boren & Duke).

Tech has had eight different goal scorers in 2016. Last weekend, No. 8 came from sophomore midfielder Jordan Duke, who scored the lone goal against Oral Roberts off a header. The Red Raiders almost had their ninth in freshman forward Tatum Barton in their match at Appalachian State, after her shot was saved by the goalkeeper, then bounced in front of the net and was kicked in for an own goal by a Mountaineer defender.

Texas Tech freshmen have put up six of the team’s 15 goals this season. Three have come from the team-leader in goals, forward Jade King, while midfielder Jordie Harr and redshirt freshman defender Gabbie Puente have posted two and one scores, respectively, in 2016.

Freshman forward Jade King is a threat to put a ball in the back of the net every time she touches the ball. She notched her team-high third goal of the season nine minutes into the match against Abilene Christian. Not only do her shots per game (4.80) and total shots (48) lead the Big 12, but she also ranks top 15 in the country in shots per game (13th).

Senior goalkeeper Lauren Watson posted her fourth shutout of the season last weekend after a 1-0 victory on the road at San Diego State. Her total ranks second in the conference standings. Already sitting in second place in the all-time records at Texas Tech in career shutouts, she is now 5.5 behind school record holder Victoria Esson for the lead in the category with 23.5.

Watson entered the season with 168 career saves, needing only seven to move into No. 5 on the career saves list at Texas Tech. After recording nine against Arizona and two more in the win over Northeastern, along with her four in the opening weekend, she took sole possession of the fifth spot in the standings. Last weekend, she racked up 11 more saves, six against LMU and five vs. San Diego State, giving her a career total of 207. Her nine saves against Arizona on Aug. 26 are tied for the most in a single-match by a Big 12 goalkeeper this season. She is now six saves away from Victoria Esson in fourth at 213, a number she has a chance to achieve this weekend.

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