Aug. 25, 1997
Red Raiders to Face New Mexico in Home Opener
The Texas Tech women's soccer team will open their 1997 season by hosting the University of New Mexico at 4 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 29 at R.P. Fuller Stadium.
"I am ready for the season to start. We've been waiting for a week and a half now and we're ready. People are working hard and everyone is coming together as a team," sophomore forward Kristy Frantz said.
The Lobos return eight starters and 18 letterwinners from a squad that went 11-9 overall and 4-2 in Western Athletic Conference play. Forward Laurie Hegedorn, who led the team in 1996 with 21 goals and 47 points, returns for her senior season along with junior midfielder Jill Bruyere and senior defender Nikke Knutson. New Mexico is coached by second year head coach John DeWitt.
Texas Tech will continue their opening series on Sunday as they host the University of Mississippi at 1 p.m. Last season, the Lady Rebels went 9-9-1 overall and 1-7 in Southeastern Conference play. They return 13 letterwinners and nine starters. Among those returning is junior midfielder Tammy Zegledi. During the '96 season, Zegledi was the fifth leading scorer in the SEC with 15 goals. Fellow junior midfielder Leah Rutledge tallied 25 assists, a league high and the second best total in the nation during 1996. Ole Miss is led by third year head coach Patrick Cruickshank.
New Mexico and Ole Miss will battle one another on Saturday Aug. 30 at 1 p.m. at R.P Fuller Stadium.
Tech records 5-0 shutout against West Texas A&M scrimmage
In their first action of the season, the Texas Tech women's soccer team shutout West Texas A&M, 5-0.
Red Raider senior midfielder Julie Clement got the action started when she scored on a header in the 14th minute of play. Clement added another goal in the 39th minute when she rocketed a shot from 15 feet outside the box. The Red Raiders final goal of the half came right on the heels of the second as sophomore forward Kristy Frantz scored on the ensuing kickoff. Tech entered halftime with a 3-0 lead.
In second half action, freshman midfielder Whitney Myers scored in the 77th minute followed by a final goal from junior midfielder Amy Rutstein in the 88th minute.
"Overall the effort was good. This was our first opportunity to play someone other than ourselves. We got a chance to see where we are and where we need to go. We need to play faster and make better decisions," first year head coach Felix Oskam said.
Chura rejoins Red Raider soccer staff
If things are better the second time around then Barb Chura has some bright days ahead of her.
Chura returns to Texas Tech after spending a year at James Madison University. The Dukes finished the 1996 season with a first place finish in the CAA Conference, a trip to the NCAA Sweet 16 and a final rank of 14th in the Division I national poll.
"Felix and I have always had a great working relationship. We are not only coaching peers, but also good friends. That kind of relationship is important when you are trying to continue to build a program. That is one of the reasons that I am excited about coming back to Tech. I want to help Felix make this program into one that is nationally recognized. Besides, I love the people and the weather," Chura said.
A 1993 graduate of Connecticut, Chura helped lead the Huskies to a Top 10 national ranking during her playing seasons, and to the NCAA Final Four in 1990. She was named team captain in 1992. She still ranks among UConn's all-time assists (21st) and point (33rd) leaders.
Chura has also served as a staff coach for the North Texas Soccer Association for two years. In 1993-94 she coached the Under-19 Eagle Elite Soccer Club in Connecticut, and in 1993 she was an assistant coach with the Under-19 Capital United Soccer Club that won the New York State Championship.
Chura played on the Olympic Development Program Region I team and the Eastern New York State teams while in high school. She was also a member of the Connecticut Cuervo Women's Soccer Club, which consists of current and former U.S. National team members and former collegiate All-Americans. Chura claimed a gold medal in 1989, 1991 and 1992 as a member of the Adirondack Region at the Empire State Games.
She currently holds a United States Soccer Federation "C" license and a USSF "D" license. She will pursue her USSF "B" license in January of 1998.
Did you know...
Red Raider newcomer Whitney Myers is the daughter of former NFL football player Tom Myers. He was an All-Pro defensive back for the New Orleans Saints, who garnered All-America honors while at Syracuse.
This season Whitney will vie for a midfield position on the Red Raider team. A 1996 graduate of Kingwood High School, Whitney was a National Merit Scholar Candidate in 1996 and describes herself as a "devoted Houston Rockets fan."
Big 12 Soccer Championship
The 1997 Big 12 Conference Soccer Championship will be held November 6, 7, 9 at the Blossom Soccer Stadium in San Antonio, Texas. The top six teams based on regular season results will qualify for the tournament. A point system used throughout the season will determine those teams and their respective seedings.
The bracketing will be as follows:
Head Coach Felix Oskam
This season will mark a new beginning for Felix Oskam and the Texas Tech women's soccer program. For the first time in the sport's history, a new face will be guiding the team. Oskam, who has served as an assistant for two years, took over the program on an interim basis and then permanently after Diane Nichols resigned in late July.
Prior to coming to Tech in 1995, Oskam served for three years as an assistant coach for both the men's and women's programs at the University of Tulsa. During the 1993 season, the Tulsa women's program was ranked as high as 11th and finished ranked 18th in the nation. In 1991, the Tulsa men's team achieved a regional ranking of two and a national ranking of 17. Oskam is currently a staff coach and instructor for North Texas Soccer Association, a Region III Olympic Development Program (ODP) staff coach and the Director of Coaching for the girls competitive team, the Lubbock Elite Soccer Club. He has also worked as a staff coach for the Olympic Development Program in Oklahoma and coached the Blackwatch '80 girls select team in Tulsa.
Oskam played 12 years of club soccer in the Netherlands before attending the University of North Texas. While at North Texas, he helped guide UNT to their first national ranking and was twice chosen as a Texas Collegiate Soccer League All-Star. Oskam holds a United States Soccer Federation National "A" license and is a member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
A 1981 graduate of North Texas, Oskam earned a Master of Science degree in Sports Management from the University of Tulsa in 1993.
Red Raiders look toward 1997 season with high expectations
For three years, the Red Raider soccer team has kicked their way to a winning season under the direction of head coach Diane Nichols. This season will be different. The Texas Tech team will be working toward more than just a winning season, and they'll be doing that under the direction of a new coach.
Felix Oskam will be the Red Raiders new leader, but that won't be so different than the past. Oskam was an assistant coach for two years before taking over the head job.
Oskam takes over a team who had seven freshman starters and finished last season with an overall mark of 13-8 and a fourth place finish in the Big 12 Conference.
"Our greatest strength is that we are a year older. We learned a lot from last year. Our kids know what the Big 12 is all about. They know they will have to compete on a higher level," Oskam said.
Oskam looks for sophomores Kristy Frantz and Amaris Smith to provide speed and strength up top. Frantz, who practically rewrote the Red Raiders' single season record book was an All-Big 12 second team selection and an honorable mention Freshman All-America pick.
The Red Raiders will have big shoes to fill in the center midfield position after losing Kristi Patterson to graduation. The other midfield spots could be filled by sophomore Lizzy Biles and junior Jennifer Benat.
An area Oskam hopes to see more maturity in is the defense. During the 1996 season, Tech had five freshman and a walk-on sophomore handling most of the duty.
"We were very young last season. We made some mistakes, but we learned from it," Oskam said.
Sophomore goalkeeper Lizzie Pruitt will have her hands full this season as two newcomers challenge her for the spot. Last season, Pruitt was practically the Red Raiders only goalkeeper playing 1868 of 1890 minutes.
"There was a lot of pressure on Lizzie last season since she was basically our only goalkeeper. Our situation this year will be much better. All three keepers will have a chance to start. They will have to fight it out and may the best goalkeeper win," Oskam said.
Tech will have a quality group of recruits and walk-ons that should add to the depth and strength of the team. Three midfielders, Melinda Hemmer, Lindsay Thompson and Whitney Myers, are expected to add field vision, tactical skills and quickness with the ball. Forward Gina Peranio will bring speed and quickness up top to help Frantz and Smith.
Goalkeepers Lindsey Thompson and Kellie McCallister will make a push for the starting position. Foreman's size and vocal leadership along with McCallister's quickness will give both of them a shot at Pruitt's spot.
Tech will be tested early. The Red Raiders first Big 12 game will come as their third game of the season when they travel to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Perennial powerhouses Texas A&M and Nebraska will be key matches for Tech, along with Colorado, Missouri, Texas and second year program Baylor. But the Red Raiders and Oskam are ready for the talk to end and the action to begin.
"I think I know what it takes to take this program to the next level and I think we can get there," Oskam said.