Strahan's Strike Sends Tech to Big 12 Semifinals|
Nov. 6, 2013
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A long blast off the foot of junior midfielder Paige Strahan was all the Red Raiders needed to punch their ticket to the Big 12 Championship semifinals on a chilly November night at the Swope Soccer Village.
The score, from well-beyond the penalty box, propelled Tech to a 1-0 victory over TCU in the opening round of the Big 12 Soccer Championship. With the victory, the No. 2 seeded Red Raiders advance to Friday's semifinals and will face No. 6 seed Oklahoma State at 8 p.m.
"We call it the `Paige Zone'," Texas Tech head coach Tom Stone said. "She got in there and let it rip. We have been looking for that out of her all year. She scored a bunch from that distance last year, and it was a big lift for us today."
With Wednesday's effort, the Red Raiders have now shutout five-straight opponents while allowing just one goal in its previous nine contests. Texas Tech also extended its league-leading unbeaten streak to 16-straight dating back to Sept. 1. During that span, the Red Raiders have allowed just three goals.
"I thought our team defending was great." Stone said. "We really didn't give them much at all."
While temperatures dipped into the lower 40s on the grand opening of the Swope Soccer Village, the Red Raiders controlled tempo for much of the evening ending with a 25-5 advantage in total shots.
Tech's game-winner came when junior Jaelene Hinkle found Strahan open near the top of the box in the 31st minute. Strahan took the feed and sent a long blast from 30-yards out over the head of TCU goalkeeper Shannon Coffer.
"That's a comfortable spot for me to shoot the ball," Strahan said. "From that angle it takes a lot of power. I work on that shot as much as possible, and I'm very comfortable taking it."
The goal marked Strahan's third of the season, while Hinkle picked up her fifth assist of the year. Hinkle now moves into a tie for fourth all-time at Texas Tech in career assists with 14.
The Red Raiders went on to hold TCU to just one shot in the second half, while extending their first-half shutout streak to 20-straight. Tech hasn't allowed a goal in the first half this season, and outscored opponents 24-0 in the process.
In front of the Tech net, senior goalkeeper Victoria Esson picked up her fifth-straight shutout anchoring the back line with two saves on the evening.
Esson is the first Texas Tech goalkeeper since 2010 to shutout five consecutive opponents.
The Red Raiders were led offensively Wednesday night by sophomore Janine Beckie who took a game-high seven shots.
Tech and Oklahoma State battled to a scoreless draw in the regular season, while the Cowgirls upset No. 3 seed Texas 2-1 earlier Wednesday. Texas Tech is making its second straight appearance in the Big 12 Championship semifinals.
Tech's Big 12 semifinal match will be streamed live Friday by the Big 12 Digital Network.