With the Texas Tech Soccer season starting a week from now, it’s time to learn about the 2019 squad and what to expect from them. Unfortunately, I was only able to attend a handful of games last season and am by no means an expert.
Luckily, we have someone who watched the every home game last here today. RC Maxfield is the Sports Director at the student radio station, KTXT, and was their radio announcer during the soccer team’s home games last season. There’s not going to be many people who know about this team more than him.
If you aren’t able to make it to a Texas Tech soccer game this season, you can listen them on KTXT 88.1 in Lubbock. If you’re not in the hub city, you can listen to them on www.ktxtfm.org and TuneIn along with several other streaming services. They also broadcast home games for volleyball, track and field, and softball as well.
Without further ado, let’s discuss some Red Raider Soccer:
Who is the most important player to the success of the team?
I don’t think there is one particular player per se that is most important to the team’s success. I think its more of how will the backline for Tech be this year after losing three starters to graduation. Losing Boren, Denesik, and Wickenheiser on that backline is a huge loss for this team.
However, Coach Stone and crew have players returning from last year with experience and have brought in possible replacements as well. One of those players, Luana Munoz, has actually national team experience for her home country of Argentina.
Who’s a player not on everyone’s radar that we should keep an eye on?
This one was tough. I was trying to decide between Charlotte Teeter and Cassie Hiatt but I decided to go with the defender Hiatt. As I mentioned, losing three out of your four starters on your backline can be tough and Hiatt is the lone returnee from that backline.
She was named to the All-Big 12 Freshman Team last season, but she seemed to be overshadowed for most of the year because of the seniors. She will need to be the vocal leader on that backline for Tech as only a sophomore, but she doesn’t seem to shy away from the big moments. She headed in a game-tying goal against Kansas to force overtime, where Tech would eventually win.
What does Texas Tech have to do in order to win the Big 12?
That’s going to be a tough task with West Virginia and Baylor leading the pack in the Big 12, but it isn’t impossible. The Big 12 seems to have four really quality teams, the previous two I mentioned as well as Texas and Texas Tech. The key for Tech to win the Big 12 is simple, capitalize on set pieces and quality opportunities.
Numerous times in 2018, the team struggled with set pieces and couldn’t capitalize on breakaway’s. That has to change this season if Tech wants to win the Big 12. Luckily for Tech, they have one of the most talented attacks in the Big 12.
What worries you the most about this team?
The inexperience on the backline. I hate top sound like a broken record, but its true. In 2018, Tech led the Big 12 conference with only 12 goals against and had 14 shutouts last season tied with Baylor for the Big 12 lead.
Sure, that was due in part to Zucchetto in goal, but also because of the vast amount of experience in front of her on that backline. The learning curve for the girls on the backline will be steep but, for Coach Stone and crew, this is nothing new.
Can this team make it back to their second Sweet Sixteen this year?
Absolutely. One thing I’ve learned in my time of covering this soccer team is to never bet against Coach Stone. This team has an elite attack, plenty of experience in the midfield and one of the best goalies in the Big 12.
If they can sure up the backline, have health go their way, have the new players accept their respective roles and not do too much, they’ll certainly have an opportunity to make it to the NCAA Tournament and advance to their second Sweet Sixteen appearance.