Soccer

Texas Tech Soccer 2019 Preview

We take a look at the 2019 Soccer season and what to expect this year

The football season may start in a couple weeks, but the futbol season is just around the corner! That’s right, the 2019-2020 Texas Tech Athletic season just starts in a couple days when the soccer team scrimmages at Denver.

So to kick off the soccer season, we’re going to do a breakdown of what’s happening the season, who are the returners, who are the newcomers, what the schedule looks like, and what we might expect for next season.

Just a disclaimer before we get started, I don’t watch or pay attention to Texas Tech Soccer as much as football, basketball and baseball, so excuse me if I don’t know something or make a mistake on my info. Let’s begin!

Why Is This Season Important?

This is an important anniversary for Texas Tech Soccer. The program turns a quarter century old this year! During the weekend of the Iowa State football game, the program are inviting the former players back for a special reunion.

The program has improved quite a bit since it was founded in 1994. Tom Stone has been in head coach the past 12 years, and in his last six year, he’s won 96 matches. That’s the second most matches in the Big 12 during that time span according to Tom Stone’s Texas Tech profile.

Last year, the Red Raider’s may not have won the Big 12, but finished their conference slate strong, winning four of their last five conference games. They had a program best 4-1-1 record against Top 25 teams and were second the in nation in shut-outs with 14.

This upcoming season has potential to be their best one yet. The team will be ranked No. 22 to start the year, and are predicted to finish fifth in the Big 12, although I expect them to finish higher than that.

The Red Raiders had a ton of great underclassmen the past couple years, and now they’re becoming juniors and seniors, ready to make a postseason push. Speaking of returners, let’s go over them now.

The Returners

Liverpool has Salah, Mane and Firmino. Manchester City has Sterling, Sane and Aguero. Paris Saint-Germain has Neymar, Mbappe and Cavani. Those teams won UEFA, the EPL and French League. A lot of the best clubs right now in European soccer have a great trio.

Texas Tech has a trio of their own, and this is their third (and final) season paired up together. Jade King, Ally Griffin and Kirsten Davis combined for 47 points last season, which is third among trios in the Big 12. King, who was is lone senior out of the trio, led the team with eight goals last year.

Davis led the team with 21 points thanks to seven goals and seven assists, and is probably the best out of the bunch. Griffin started about half the games King and Davis did, but was dynamite off the bench with four goals. We also saw flashes from forward Charlotte Teeter and defender Cassie Hiatt, two sophomores who scored three goals each last season.

Defensively, there was a reason why Texas Tech had 14 shutouts last season. Marissa Zucchetto had a wonderful sophomore campaign, as she led the Big 12 in goals allowed per game with 0.53, and save percentage with 82.9%.

That being said, she only had to make 58 saves last year, seventh in the Big 12. That’s a big credit to her defense last season. However, that defense did lost two huge pieces in Cassie Boren and Gwennie Puente. They’re going to be the position to keep an eye on this year.

That being said, Hiatt made the All-Big 12 freshmen team last year and is a preseason All-Big 12 player, and Gabbie Puente saw a lot of time and likely will be a key player in the backfield. The midfield lost some good pieces too in Jordan Duke and Carly Wickenheiser, but Jayne Lydiatt returns along with former All-Big 12 midfielder Jordie Harr, who missed all of last year due to injury.

The Newcomers

It’s hard to predict how this group will make an impact, considering we don’t know a ton about soccer recruiting classes. However, it’s evident that Texas Tech will need some help at defender and midfield this upcoming season.

Amanda Porter could be a name we see in midfield, as the junior played her last couple years at Arizona. Other key newcomer to keep an eye on is Nicole Mettam, a freshmen who has experience playing for the New Zealand national team.

As for defense, Luana Munoz is a defender coming in from Tyler JC and could be ready to take on a roll right away. Hannah Anderson from Frisco HS joined the team in the spring and already has some experience.

The Schedule

So even though I said the season started in a couple days, technically it starts in a week. The Denver game will just be a scrimmage, as it has been for the past six years. They’ve won every scrimmage, with their best result occurring in 2015 with a 4-1 win. They won the Big 12 that year.

After that, they begin their season with two roads game in San Diego State and New Mexico, a common opponent. They played at SDST last year a won 2-1, and defeated New Mexico 2-0 at home. That is followed by a four game home stand, with a Red Raiders posting long winning streaks against Oral Roberts, UNT and ACU.

The real test begins after that. Texas Tech heads west again to face Loyola Marymount and UC Irvine in a neutral field tournament at Washington State, followed by a road game against No. 19 UCF. This should give us an idea of where Tech is before Big 12 begins.

For Big 12 play, it’s a lot like football. The home schedule features five of the six worst teams record wise in the Big 12 last year. Their away schedule is a rough stretch, with Texas, Baylor and WVU, all of whom finished above the Red Raiders. It’s a weird schedule that basically sets them up to finish just above .500.

Luckily, the first six games features four home games and just one ranked team in West Virginia. Their record could determine how important their final games are, as they end the schedule at Baylor, at Texas and home for Kansas State.

The Verdict

In their non-conference schedule, they’ll likely go 9-1. They face four teams with record more than one game over .500 last year, including two of them on the road. Those will be the key games. At New Mexico could be a trap game, and at USF looks like the lone loss. A win there could be huge.

As for the conference schedule, they start off home against the Oklahoma schools then go on the road against Iowa State, so 3-0 is very possible. The challenge will be at West Virginia a couple days after the Iowa State game. 3-1 is likely the record.

Then they host Kansas and TCU before traveling to Baylor and Texas, ending their season at home against Kansas State. The likely record is 2-2-1 in this stretch. TCU will be interesting, as Texas Tech lost 0-2 in Fort Worth last year and both teams finished with the same conference record a year ago.

So overall, I have the Red Raiders around 14-4-1, which is one more win than last year and the same amount of loses and ties. The record might be different if all the easier games weren’t at home and the tough games were on the road. Despite them finishing with a similar record, I see this team doing better in the postseason, advancing to the Sweet Sixteen.

Links

  • Tech Soccer Eager to Start Season – Carlos Silva of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal summarizes the opening press conference
  • Kirsten Davis: Chasing Another Level – This piece on TexasTech.com talks about the recruitment behind Red Raider legacy Kirsten Davis. She could be a potential candidate for Big 12 player of the year.
  • Keeton Promoted to Associate Head CoachΒ – If you watched Texas Tech soccer, you might’ve seen this guy on the sideline. The Red Raider coach, who has been with the program the last 10 years, was named Associate HC this summer.
  • Kristy Frantz Becomes First Soccer Player to TTU HOF – Frantz became the first soccer player to be named to the Texas Tech Hall of Fame this summer. She totaled 108 points in her career. She is second in the program in goals, assists and points, and was a second team All-Big 12 member three times.
  • Tech to Open Season Ranked No. 22 – Last year, the Red Raiders ended the season ranked No. 24. They start off with a little bit better ranking this year. Lot of hype around Texas Tech.
  • Hiatt Named to Preseason All-Big 12 Team– Defenders usually don’t get a lot of love, but folks, she’s legit. And she’s only a sophomore. Keep an eye out for her.
  • Tech Picked Fifth In Big 12 Preseason Poll – Not super surprised, as Baylor and Texas return a lot of their key players and West Virginia always seems to be good. They have TCU ranked Texas Tech (57 to 52 votes). This isn’t ridiculous, as both finished with the same conference record, but I bet Tech finishes above TCU.

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