Red Raiders Eager For NCAA Championships

Texas Tech will host North Texas in the first round of the NCAA Championships Saturday at 7 p.m.

November 7, 2012

by Morgan Crump
Texas Tech Athletics Communications

LUBBOCK, Texas - Excitement was in the air on Monday afternoon as the Texas Tech soccer team assembled to watch the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Championship selection show.

Sixty-four teams were chosen to compete in the upcoming NCAA postseason tournament, and not only did Texas Tech earn a bid for the first time in school history but the Red Raiders will host the first round at the John Walker Soccer Complex.

To begin the first round of the tournament, Texas Tech will host North Texas on Saturday at 7 p.m.

This year, the Red Raiders broke the school record for highest number of wins in a single season and enter the NCAA Soccer Championships with a record of 15-5-1.

Texas Tech earned a bid to its first ever NCAA Championships Monday.

Big 12 Rookie of the Year Janine Beckie has been instrumental in the team's success this year. She scored 12 goals this season, and she is the top scoring freshman in the Big 12.

Beckie said she thinks playing in the NCAA Championship will be an unbelievable experience for the team. She also said this is an exciting and emotional time, but the team will have to focus on what is ahead.

"This game is so important because if we lose, we're done," Beckie said. "Losing is just not an option at this point, and I know that everyone on this team has the right mindset."

Beckie said team practices this week will be very important and that it is time for the team to become mentally and physically prepared for Saturday.

"Nobody on this team enjoys losing, and none of our coaches enjoy it either," Beckie said. "It gives us that drive and the push to win the games we need to win and make the plays we need to make."

Junior Hayley Haagsma said the opportunity to play in the NCAA Championship means a lot to her.

"Today is the kind of day that makes you realize the hard work you've put in and the struggles you've been through are finally worth it, and that it's something to be proud of," Haagsma said. "It's something I can look back on and say I did this."

Haagsma said hosting the first game is key for the team. She said she thinks the team plays its best soccer at home.

"We are playing at home and we have our home crowd and all of our fans behind us," she said. "It's just so vital that we got that home game and I feel like that's just going to propel us into the next round."

Junior goalkeeper Victoria Esson said the team has worked very hard for this opportunity and she looks forward to making the most of it.

"The long term goal for us was to make the national championship, which we have achieved," she said. "Short-term we're just focusing on winning game-by-game and giving it the best we've got."

Sixth-year head coach Tom Stone said he thinks the team has been all-in since the beginning. He said they have learned from the challenges they faced throughout the season.

"There have been so many high moments this season," he said. "It has been exciting to watch the team come together and to watch their relationships grow."

Stone said he thinks his players care more about each other than just winning games.

"They really became a team that cared about each other more than anything," he said, "and when you get that going on in the locker room, the results start to take care of themselves."

Stone said he is very thankful for Texas Tech and the Athletics Department for being supportive of women's soccer and standing behind the team every step of the way.

"Very few people who take a head coaching job will find that every promise that was made to them during their interview was fulfilled," he said, "but I would say that Texas Tech has given us everything we need to be successful."

Stone said he thinks the North Texas women's soccer team is very competitive and is a team the Red Raiders have seen in the past.

"They (North Texas) are pretty direct in nature, and they will challenge you every second of the game," he said. "Being mostly Dallas kids on that team and a big Dallas group on this team, we're familiar with their roster and they're familiar with ours. There won't be a lot of secrets come Saturday night."

Stone said the team is thankful for the talent they have been blessed with, and they hope to honor their university with their performance in this tournament.

"I'm excited that there are two or three big, tough teams waiting for us if we win this game, but if we win is the whole thing," he said. "It really is one game at a time. You're either surviving and moving on or you're done for the year," he said. "We've got to get after North Texas."




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