Soccer Begins Big 12 Play at Texas Tech, Colorado

The Iowa State women's soccer team opens Big 12 play this weekend, traveling to Texas Tech on Friday for a 7 p.m. start, then head to Colorado to take on the Buffaloes Sunday at 1 p.m. ISU leads the all-time series with TTU 8-1 and have won the last seven meetings. The Buffs own a 7-2 all-time mark vs. Iowa State, including three consecutive.

The Cyclones enter the weekend having won four out of their last five matches. Iowa State (5-2-2) is ranked No. 13 in the Central Region by Soccer Buzz Magazine, Colorado (3-3-2) is 12th and Texas Tech (1-7-0) is unranked.

"Texas Tech and Colorado will both prove to be very tough games for us," ISU head coach Rebecca Hornbacher said. "Texas Tech is very physical, direct, and organized in their attack. Colorado has great team speed, and a goalkeeper that has great presence. "

Sophomore Renee de St. Aubin leads the team in goals (four), points (eight) and is tied for fifth in the Big 12 in goals scored (four) and second in game-winning goals (two). De St. Aubin, junior Kate Kirwan and senior Deb Benakis were named to the all-tournament team of the Bulldog Bash last weekend for their efforts.

Hornbacher has been pleased with how de St. Aubin and most notably, her defense, has stepped up during their last five games.

"Kate Kirwan and Deb Benakis have been very solid in the backline, and really been solid and consistent in their play," Hornbacher said. Renee continues to be making an impact in every game that she plays. She is playing very composed and with a great deal of confidence."

Iowa State goalkeeper Joanna Haig has already recorded four shutouts in non-conference play, tying her for first in the Big 12. With her consistent play early this season, the Inver Grove Heights, Minn., native is in the top-five in three categories on the ISU all-time list including goals-against average (1.07), wins (13) and shutouts (six).

Texas Tech enters the match with a five-game losing streak, its lone win coming in a 3-2 overtime decision over Sam Houston State back on August 30. Senior Kimmie Davis leads TTU with six goals on the year, ranking her tied for second in the Big 12. The Red Raiders have been outscored 25-8 in eight games, but has only been outshot 123-115.

The Buffaloes have won their last two games after suffering tough losses at the season's outset vs. then-No. 2 North Carolina (3-0) and then-No. 3 UCLA (2-0). Colorado senior Fran Munnelly leads CU in points (seven), with three goals and one assist. Senior goalkeeper Jessica Keller has logged all 760 minutes in goal for the Buffs, second in the conference to Haig. She carries a 1.30 goals-against average to go with 27 saves on the year.

Hornbacher says her team goes into Big 12 play with the same mindset as non-conference games.

"We don't approach Big 12 games any differently than any other game we play," Hornbacher said. "We respect each team we play, prepare for the strengths of their team, as well as things we need to execute to be successful. Our team is excited for the opening weekend and realize that each and every game for us is important in the overall standings."


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