No. 17 Texas Tech Tops No. 25 Denver, 2-1, in Exhibition Match

Paige Strahan scored the first goal in Texas Tech's 2-1 victory over No. 25 Denver Saturday night in an exhibition match at CIBER Field. (Photo courtey of Zach Harder)

Aug. 16, 2014

LUBBOCK, Texas - No. 17 Texas Tech overcame an early first-half deficit with goals from Paige Strahan and Alli Murphy Saturday evening to top No. 25 Denver, 2-1, in an exhibition match at CIBER Field in Denver.

This is the second-straight season where the Red Raiders have defeated Denver in a preseason contest between two top-25 teams that both won 18 matches a year ago and advanced to the NCAA Championship.

"We had a good performance overall and an excellent response from going down 1-0 in the first four minutes," Tech head coach Tom Stone said. "We were really excited to play and as a result took a while to get into a quality passing rhythm. Denver makes it hard because they can make you chase and at altitude we had to rely on our depth to keep everyone fresh."

The victory came despite a rare slow start for the Red Raiders, who allowed an early goal by Denver in just the third minute. Brooke Boothe scored the Pioneers' lone goal, knocking in a header off a Sam Harder free kick from roughly 40 yards out.

Tech responded less than 15 minutes later as Strahan provided the equalizer off a Denver turnover on Tech's side of the pitch. Strahan got behind the Denver defense and then finished back post on a one-on-one opportunity against Pioneer goalkeeper Cassidy Rey.

The Red Raiders controlled the attack for the remainder of the contest as the Tech defense held Denver to just three shot attempts on the night and just one corner kick attempt. Tech, meanwhile, mad e 14 shot attempts and eight corner kicks, five of which that came in the first 15 minutes.

Murphy capitalized on one of Tech's final attempts in the 71st minute as she took a bouncer from Maddy Crabtree in the box and lofted the game-winner over a rushing Rey and into an open net. It was the fourth shot attempt of the night for Murphy, who finished tied with Briana Rohmer for the team high.

"It was a very well executed pass and finish from Crabtree to Alli for the winner," Stone said. "We are excited to be off and running this season but this game also showed us that we have a lot left to improve on."

Preseason All-Big 12 selection Jaelene Hinkle also added three shot attempts for the Red Raiders while Caity Heap provided two of her own as well. Tech used most of its bench as 19 players saw action, including five freshmen - Cassie Conarty, Alex Marmureanu, Rebekah O'Brien, Natalie Schmutz and Sara Summers.

Lauren Watson, making her first start in goal in place of the departed Victoria Esson, collected one save in a full 90 minutes. The sophomore has been competing throughout the preseason with freshmen Carissa Christensen and Marissa Torres for the starting goalkeeper position.

The Red Raiders open the regular season next Friday with a 7 p.m. first kick against New Mexico at the John Walker Soccer Complex.




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