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Red Raiders Host Arizona, Northwestern State This Weekend

Taylor Lytle

Taylor Lytle
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Sept. 11, 2008

LUBBOCK, Texas -

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STARTING OFF...
After three-consecutive road matches, the Texas Tech soccer team returns to the John Walker Soccer Complex for a 7 p.m. match against Arizona Fri., Sept. 12, before closing the weekend against Northwestern State Sun., Sept. 14, at noon.

SCOUTING ARIZONA
Arizona arrives in Lubbock at 3-2 overall after falling to Texas, 2-1, in a double-overtime match last Sunday in Austin. The Wildcats return 19 letterwinners, including seven starters, off last season's team that finished 6-13-1 overall and ninth in the Pac-10. The Wildcats are led offensively by Renae Cuellar who has three goals and an assist through five matches this season. Chelsea McIntyre has played every minute in goal this season, sporting a 0.58 goals against average and .889 saves percentage. The Wildcats are led by Dan Tobias who is 46-48-8 over his five seasons at Arizona.

SCOUTING NORTHWESTERN STATE
Northwestern State enters the weekend riding a four-match non-winning streak as the Demons currently stand 1-3-1 on the season before facing Grambling on Friday. The Demons return 20 letterwinners, including eight starters, off its 2007 squad that finished 11-7-2 overall and fifth in the Southland Conference. The Demons fell, 3-0, to Oklahoma State and tied Arkansas-Little Rock, 3-3, last Sunday. Offensively, Rachel O'Steen and Kayla King lead the squad with two goals each, while Amanda Vines and Lindy Strahan have split time within goal, collecting 42 saves and allowing 11 goals. Northwestern State is led by Jimmy Mitchell, who is 95-13-16 over his nine seasons in Natchitoches.

KEEP AN EYE ON...REDSHIRT FRESHMAN Taylor Lytle
After missing the entire 2007 season, Taylor Lytle has performed through five matches like many projected her to out of high school. A NSCAA All-American, Lytle has two goals and two assists already this season, scoring the game-winner at UTSA and adding another goal against Alabama A&M last weekend.

LOOKING AHEAD
The Red Raiders have only one match next week as Oral Roberts comes to town for a 7 p.m. match Thurs., Sept. 18. Tech resumes Big 12 Conference play Fri., Sept. 26, at Oklahoma State at 7 p.m., before returning home to face Oklahoma Sun., Sept. 28, at 1 p.m.

WEEKEND PROMOTIONS
Friday's match is Lubbock Soccer Association Night as all players wearing their team uniform will get into the match free. The first 200 fans will also get a free towel. Sunday's match is Daddy Daughter Date Day as all daughters brought to the match by their dad will get in free. Rally poms, t-shirts and scratch cards will all be given out at the gate.

TECH RANKED No. 15 IN SOCCER BUZZ CENTRAL REGION
After two-consecutive weeks ranked at No. 13 in the Soccer Buzz Central Region poll, the Red Raiders dropped to No. 15 this week after going 1-0-1 last weekend.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES
After only posting two first half goals in 2007, the Red Raiders have quickly turned into more of a first half team this season as Tech has connected on nine first half goals, compared to its six second half goals. Tech's four goals to open the Alabama A&M match were the most in the first half for Tech since facing Prairie View A&M in 2006.

RINCON MATCHES CAREER SHUTOUT RECORD
With Tech's 5-0 victory over Alabama A&M last weekend, Tina Rincon tied Stephanie Carter atop the school's career all-time shutout list with each player having 11 over their careers. Rincon has posted shutouts in three of Tech's five matches this season, which is tops among Big 12 goalkeepers. Here is a look on how Rincon stands when compared to Big 12 opponents:

  • Her .857 save percentage is second in the conference;
  • Has 24 saves so far, which is tied for tops among conference goalkeepers;
  • Her nine saves against Colorado are tied for an individual conference high;
  • Trails Megan Knauss by 25 saves for second place on the school's career save chart.

    HARRISON BEGINS SCORING EARLY
    Brittney Harrison put the Red Raiders ahead earlier than normal against Alabama A&M as the junior connected on the Red Raiders' first goal only 12 seconds into the match, a new Tech record. The quickest a Red Raider had previously recorded a goal was 29 seconds by Ashley Reed in 2004.

    LYTLE STARTING SEASON STRONG
    Finally healthy after sitting out the entire 2007 season because of injury, redshirt freshman Taylor Lytle has begun the 2008 campaign off strong, totaling six points through five matches, while also scoring her first goal in Tech's 3-0 win over UTSA. Lytle connected on her first career game-winning goal last Sunday as the Red Raiders defeated Alabama A&M, 5-0.

    FRESHMEN CONTRIBUTING EARLY
    Prior to the 2008 season, Tech head Tom Stone said he knew he would have to rely on his incoming class of 12 freshmen. Already five matches into the season, the freshmen have contributed 16 of 41 total points this season. Five matches into the 2007 season, the Red Raiders had only three points coming from freshmen.

    HINDS HAS CAREER DAY AGAINST ALABAMA A&M
    Sophomore Katie Hinds not only scored her first career goal against Alabama A&M, but she also added another one in the second half. Hinds also attempted a career-high three shots in the match, with all three coming on-goal.

    PROJECTING THE WEATHER
    Lubbock has never been a city where rainfall is a daily occurance, except when Tech has a home soccer match. It has rained before, during or after three of Tech's four home soccer matches, including preseason scrimmages, this season, and Lubbock forecasters have projected a 60 percent chance of rain for Friday's match against Arizona.

    REZAIE PICKING UP WHERE SHE LEFT OFF
    Late in the 2007 season, possibly no other Red Raider was finding their stride offensively like junior forward Zhaleh Rezaie as the Plano, Texas, native had five goals over the final seven matches, including two against Missouri in the first round of the Big 12 Championship. So far in 2008, Rezaie has two goals and two assists through three matches, while trailing only Brittney Harrison in points with six.

    TECH LEADING AT THE HALF
    After not leading a match at the half once in 2007, the Red Raiders have entered halftime with the lead in all four of its five matches this season. Prior to the start of the season, Tech had not gone into the half with a lead since Oct. 10, 2006 when the Red Raiders led 1-0 over Texas State. The Red Raiders ended up defeating the Bobcats, 3-0.

    HOME STREAK COMES TO THE END
    Dating back to the 2007 season, the Red Raiders were riding a four-match home winning streak enterring last weekend's loss to Colorado. The streak was Tech's longest such streak in Lubbock since the beginning of the 1996 season when the Red Raiders opened the year with four-consecutive home victories.

    STONE LOOKING FOR STRONG PERFORMANCE IN NON-CONFERENCE
    After getting over the learning that was his first season, Tech head coach Tom Stone is looking to strengthen the one part of Tech's 2007 record that was less than desirable, the non-conference. The Red Raiders opened last season with a 2-3-1 non-conference schedule, but had two matches against Stephen F. Austin and Jackson State cancelled.

    HARRISON OPENS SEASON WITH BIG GAME
    Red Raider junior defender Brittney Harrison continues to show why she is one of the top players in the country. The Plano, Texas, native connected on two goals in last Friday's season opener against Lamar, with both coming within less than a two-minute stretch. Harrison now has 15 goals over her Tech career, which is tied for seventh on the school's all-time list.

    JOHN WALKER SOCCER COMPLEX
    Tech's newest facility on campus, the John Walker Soccer Complex, officially opened in Tech's season-opening 4-0 victory over Lamar. Named after Tech alum and donor John B. Walker, the stadium is not expected to be completed until Sept. 12, when the Red Raiders face Arizona. Complete with seating for around 1,400 fans, an awning and a pressbox, the John Walker Soccer Complex will quickly become one of the nicest soccer facilities in the country. Prior to the 2009 season, the Red Raiders will move into a new field house that will be equiped with state-of-the-art locker rooms, coaches' offices, a players' lounge and athletic training facilities. The John Walker Soccer Complex is located on 10th Street off the Texas Tech Parkway, which is west of University Medical Center.

    RED RAIDERS SELECTED SEVENTH IN PRESEASON CONFERENCE POLL
    If the Texas Tech soccer team is going to finish in the top half of the Big 12 for the second-consecutive season, it will once again have to defy the odds as the Red Raiders were selected to finish seventh among the league's 11 participating schools in a preseason poll of conference coaches. The Red Raiders were predicted to finish 11th in 2007 before finishing fifth and advancing to the Big 12 Championship for the first time since 1999. Texas led the poll with 94 points, while Texas A&M and Missouri completed the top three with 93 and 77 points, respectively.

    RINCON, SIMS NAMED TEAM CAPTAINS
    Prior to the season, the Red Raiders voted seniors Shannon Sims and Tina Rincon to serve as the team's captains. Sims, a midfielder from Plano, Texas, started all 17 matches last season, while Rincon added to her already impressive career numbers, adding 97 saves and five shutouts in 2007. Rincon is third all-time in career saves and shutouts with 217 and eight, respectively.

    MIHELICH JOINS THE RED RAIDERS
    Sophomore Leanne Mihelich joins the Red Raiders this season after transferring from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Mihelich led the Trojans as a freshman in both goals with nine and points with 22. She will miss the first several weeks of the season with a foot injury.

    STONE ADDS 12 FRESHMEN FOR SECOND SEASON
    In his first recruiting class, head coach Tom Stone found much needed depth to an already talented Tech roster, adding 10 freshman - Lexi Castellano, Maggie Fete, Hope Hanson, Kacy Hardie, Casey McCall, Kendyl Mygatt, Madison Terry, Erin Villareal, Dawn Ward and Lauren Yelinek - on signing day last February. Both Lauren Clary and Jordan Johnson walked-on to the team during preseason practices.

    DE LEON, WARD OUT FOR SEASON
    Both sophomore Karen De Leon and freshman Dawn Ward will miss the entire 2008 season with injuries. De Leon, one of Tech's top freshman a year ago, connected on two goals and provided two assists in 2007, while Ward was the top prospect in the 2008 recruiting class.

    TECH TO HOST TEN MATCHES IN 2008
    The Red Raiders will find a more favorable schedule in 2008 as Tech will host 10 home matches. Tech will also lose its "Lone Ranger" status from a year ago where the Red Raiders had to play a Big 12 opponent on both Fridays and Sundays, while each other conference opponent had an open date within its schedule. On top of five non-conference home matches, Tech also hosts national-powers and in-state rivals Texas (Oct. 12) and Texas A&M (Oct. 24). Four of Tech's five road conference matches are against Big 12 North opponents, Kansas (Oct. 3), Missouri (Oct. 5), Iowa State (Oct. 17) and Nebraska (Oct. 19).

     

     

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