Texas Tech Soccer Blanks North Texas in NCAA Tournament Match
Texas Tech Soccer made school history Saturday night, by playing in their first-ever NCAA Tournament match. The First Round match against North Texas was played in front of a standing-room only crowd at the John Walker Soccer Complex with over 1,700 fans in attendance. Senior Dawn Ward scored both Texas Tech goals as the Red Raiders won 2-0.
In the first half of the match, North Texas had the wind at their back and they sent many balls deep into the Texas Tech end. However, North Texas was only able to get 3 shots on goal. The second half saw North Texas move the ball more through the middle of the field but their scoring opportunities were limited again. After the match, North Texas midfielder Kara Brooks said that Tech’s midfielders were frustrating their forwards all night long by keeping the ball away and forcing them to run the field more. Texas Tech goalkeeper Victoria Esson stopped all 4 of North Texas’ shots and she notched her 14th career shutout. Esson is now Texas Tech’s all-time leader in shutouts.
Meanwhile, Dawn Ward (pictured) played 48 minutes for the Red Raiders and had 5 shots on goal. She scored both of her goals in the second half.
The first came at the 50′ mark as Ward headed the ball into the goal off of a Janine Beckie pass. Ward’s second goal came 8 minutes later as Hannah Devine kicked the ball deep into the North Texas end from midfield. The ball took a large bounce on the field turf and Ward was able to get control of the ball. She maneuvered past two defenders and beat the goaltender, Jackie Kerestine, for the goal.
After the win, Texas Tech head coach Tom Stone was asked about the physical play of the match against North Texas; he emphatically answered, “Tonight wasn’t physical. The Big 12 is physical. It prepared us well for (tonight). I had to tell my team to stop fouling.” Stone also praised his team’s preseason conditioning saying it’s paid off with how well they are playing late into the season.
Texas Tech advances to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and will face #1 seed Florida State next weekend in Tallahassee.