The Texas Tech soccer team will roll into Big 12 Conference play on a two-match winning streak.
Fueled by goals from Ally Griffin, Savanna Jones and Jade King, the Red Raiders earned a 3-0 victory against Cal State-Northridge.
With the win, Texas Tech improves to 7-2 on the season before it hosts a pair of matches against Kansas State (7 p.m. Friday) and Kansas (1 p.m. Sunday).
“Quite frankly, I thought were pretty fortunate to be up two (2-0) at half,” Texas Tech head coach Tom Stone said. “The goals were great. Unbelievable sequence that led to Ally’s tremendous 1-v-1 (one-on-one) move and then a great near-post shot. And then Savanna Jones with a great follow volley, like squeezing it in the near post. The goals were awesome. But we weren’t playing great. So, I guess that’s a sign of a good team or maybe a team that’s just, you know, had a little good luck today. We didn’t really start hitting on all cylinders until the second half.”
While Stone felt the team performed better in the final 45 minutes, the Red Raiders came out on fire early on in the contest.
Ally Griffin, who was tied for the team lead in goals with three, corralled a pass on the right sideline before making a couple of one-on-one moves before firing a shot between Matadors goalie Jovani McCaskill and right post to give Texas Tech 1-0 advantage three minutes into the match. It marked the fastest goal scored since Ashley Casey notched a score in the third minute against UTSA back on Sept. 4, 2015.
“These are eager, aggressive, assertive, dangerous forwards,” Stone said. “And they’re just getting more mature every game. And the thing I like about Ally is she seems to know when to pass and when to shoot. And she knew it was time to go one-on-one. And that’s what we expect of her. We don’t want her passing that ball, we want her taking it to the rack. It was a great opening goal. And it was kind of a statement goal that got the team fired up and off we went.”
Carly Wickenheiser, who recorded three shots in 76 minutes, agreed that Griffin’s goal was a much-needed jolt to the Red Raiders attack.
“I think that was really awesome. That helped, just our confidence, and especially get the morning going,” said Wickenheiser, a junior who has logged 90 or minutes in four matches this season. “It wasn’t necessarily easy waking up and playing on a Monday morning. But that’s kind of the cards we were dealt with. So we just did what we could with it.”
Texas Tech’s offense continued to pepper McCaskill — notching 17 shots, including nine on goal in the first half — until Savanna Jones found the perfect opportunity to strike in the 42nd. Just like she did against Appalachian State at the beginning of the month, Jones one-timed a rebound into the back of the net to increase Texas Tech’s advantage to 2-0 heading into the break.
In the final 45 minutes, the Red Raiders defense kept the Matadors off the board to bet its sixth shutout of the season.
The win was capped off by Jade King tallying her first goal of the season. The sophomore forward, who suffered a preseason injury, has missed a majority of the season before the coaching staff began to ease her into competition.
King, who led the Red Raiders with eight goals last season, rocketed a loose ball from the top of the box into the back of the net in the 52nd minute for Texas Tech’s third score of the match.
“It feels so good. I’ve been waiting for so long to be back and playing with my team again,” King said of returning after a long stint off the field due to injury. “Just being out on the field is so great, and I missed it so much.”
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