Texas Tech falls in tight match at No. 1 WVU, 1-0 - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Texas Tech falls in tight match at No. 1 WVU, 1-0

Provided by Texas Tech Athletics Provided by Texas Tech Athletics

Provided by Texas Tech Athletics

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Texas Tech soccer team dropped a tough battle at No. 1 West Virginia, surrendering a late goal to fall, 1-0, on Friday night in front of a record crowd of 2,068 at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

Senior goalkeeper Lauren Watson had a great match in between the pipes, racking up eight saves against the Mountaineers (13-1-1, 5-0-0). Her total on Friday is the most in a conference match by a ig 12 goalkeeper in 2016 and is the most since a nine-save double overtime contest vs. Arizona on Aug. 26.

The lone goal in the contest came in the 82nd minute, after Watson made a diving effort and got a piece of a shot from sophomore forward Hannah Abraham, but bounced into the net for the score.

"Hats off to West Virginia, it's easy to see why they are ranked No. 1," head coach Tom Stone said. "However, I must say that our back-six were terrific today. We absorbed a lot of pressure, but were willing to do whatever it took to keep the ball out of the net. They were stellar. [Jade] Dapaah, [Brooke] Denesik, [Lauren Watson], [Meagan] McCullough, [Cassie] Conarty and later [Margaret Begley] played really well against an army of good attackers. I could not be more proud of their effort tonight, but we needed that all over the field to get the desired result."

The Red Raiders (8-5-2, 1-4-0) had the first opportunity in the match after sophomore forward Gwennie Puente found freshman forward Jade King on a cross in the middle of the Mountaineer box. However, King's shot popped just over the goal.

"We found just enough possession to create a few forays into dangerous areas," Stone said. "But quite frankly, we did not have the quality in the final third to turn geography into real scoring chance besides the first chance in the opening moments of the game. If that chance goes in from King, things would've gotten very interesting with the lead."

Tech would find themselves on defense for a good chunk of the first half and stepped up to thwart the Mountaineer attack. The Red Raiders shut down seven shots and three corners from West Virginia during that 23-minute stretch.

Senior defender Meagan McCullough and sophomore defender Cassie Boren each logged shots in the 31' & 33', as McCullough's went just above the net & Boren's required a stop by WVU's goalkeeper.

The Tech defense came up big again in the 37th minute after a flurry of shots from the Mountaineers. Hannah Abraham started off the attack with a shot that dinged off the crossbar, followed by a strike from Ashley Lawrence to the left side of the goal, which was blocked away by senior goalkeeper Lauren Watson. It was capped off by a shot that traveled wide of Tech's goal by Lawrence.

First half action concluded shortly after a free kick from junior defender Rebekah O'Brien in the 44' sailed over the Mountaineer goal. Tech put up four shots in the first half of the match, compared to WVU's 10.

The second frame featured another strong attack from the Mountaineer offense, which included 19 shots, six on goal. Watson and the Red Raider defense put together another quality set, turning away seven shots along with two corners in the first 15 minutes of the second half.

In the 64th minute, King would break free for another opportunity, but her shot travelled just wide-left of the opposing goal. It would be the only shot of the half for the Red Raiders.

After nine more threats from West Virginia on offense, the Mountaineers finally broke through in the 82nd minute, as senior forward Ashley Woolpert found Abraham at the top of the box, who sent one past a diving Watson for the score.

Watson would claim five saves in the second half, after recording three in the first frame. She's notched 63 saves this season and 231 overall in her Red Raider career.

"It's great that the top team is in the Big 12, but we don't have moral victories here," Stone said. "We have to move on quickly and get ready for the final push in the next two weeks."

The Red Raiders will return to the road for a pair of matches at Texas (Oct. 21) and TCU (Oct. 23) next weekend for the final road trip of the 2016 regular season.

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