The Red Raiders return home for two matches this weekend as part of the Red Raider Classic
September 8, 2011
by Britton Drown
Perhaps this is just what head coach Tom Stone's soccer team needs.
On the heels of their most difficult test of the year, a 3-0 loss at No. 9 Florida, the Red Raiders (3-2) have returned to Lubbock, and are in the process of regrouping for a full weekend of matches ahead.
Texas Tech will host the Red Raider Classic this weekend with the first match scheduled for Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. against Hofstra. The Red Raiders will then return to the pitch for a Sunday afternoon match against Toledo at 12:30.
The Red Raiders have announced that Sunday's match, which will mark the 10th-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, will be Veterans, Active Military and First Responders Day at the John Walker Soccer Complex. All members will receive two complimentary tickets to the match.
Playing at home has certainly benefitted the Red Raiders who have posted an impressive 3-1 record inside the confines of the John Walker Soccer Complex. Texas Tech has outscored its opponents 4-1 at home, and all three wins have come by way of a shutout.
However, this weekend will prove to only continue a trend that has become the theme of the 2011 season--facing tough opponents. Hofstra, who reached the NCAA Tournament last season, enters the weekend with a 2-1 record, while Toledo will enter Sunday's match with a 2-2-1 record.
"These are games that we need to have," Stone said. "We need to be challenged by those teams and we need to get wins."
Capitalizing on scoring opportunities is something that has been a struggle for the Red Raiders this season, and is certainly something that plagued the team in their loss at Florida.
But it's not something that necessarily worries Stone.
"We were outplayed at times, but we were not outclassed," the fifth-year head coach said. "We belonged in that game. It gave us a real good idea of what we can become."
Stone specifically praised the composure of his freshmen in the match.
"That's the thing we were so excited about," Stone added. "Watching our freshman go toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the nation--a team that could go to the national championship. So we got a lot out of it."
One of those freshmen, defender Jaelene Hinkle, has taken tremendous steps forward in her short time with the squad.
Hinkle has started all five matches this season and has her eyes set on helping the Red Raiders get into the NCAA Tournament for the first time.
"Getting a win against them [Hofstra] would be really good to get on our resume to try and get into the tournament ourselves."
This weekend, the Red Raiders are looking to take another step forward while continuing to improve its home record before opening Big 12 play at home on Sept. 23.
"The team is starting to come around," Stone said. "We are starting to take shape and we are looking forward to this weekend."