Following another breakthrough season in 2011, where the Red Raiders finished tied for fourth place in the Big 12 Conference, which marked the best finish in conference since 1996, Texas Tech is ready to kickoff the 2012 season.
The Red Raiders kickoff the new campaign on Friday with a 7 p.m. match against Idaho at the John B. Walker Soccer Complex and play their second game of the season on Sunday with a noon kick set for their match against New Mexico.
2012 Red Raiders
Tech returns nine starters from last season's squad, while there is a plentiful of new faces donning the red and black as 11 newcomers are on the roster.
Among the returners are sophomore defender Jaelene Hinkle and senior midfielder Tiffini Smith, who were selected to the 2012 Preseason All-Big 12 team.
Hinkle was also on the 2011 All-Big 12 Team after contributing team-high four assists in 2011.
Another player to watch for in 2012 will be the player guarding the back of the net for the Tech, Victoria Esson.
The junior was a 2011 Big 12 Newcomer-Selection and also earned the Big 12 Player of the Week Honors four times during the season after producing seven shutouts, which ranked second in school history for a single season record.
Among the newcomers, one name that has stuck out has been Janine Beckie, the 2012 Gatorade Colorado Player of the Year.
Beckie was a multi-sport athlete in high school as she competed in soccer, track and basketball, finding success in all areas – two-time state track champion in 4X100 and 4X400 relay teams and all-state selection in basketball in 2012.
The Red Raiders are 10-8 all-time in home openers and have won the past four dating back to 2008.
Idaho Vandals (8-11-3 in 2011)
This season the Red Raiders open the schedule against Idaho, a team they have never faced.
The Vandals enter the 2012 season after finishing fifth in the WAC in 2011, which is where they are expected to finish in 2012 as well.
Idaho finished 8-11-4 in 2011, and this season the Vandals return nine starters from last season including Chelsea Small, a Preseason All-WAC team member and Preseason Player of the Year honors for the second-straight season. Small scored 10 goals and registered four assists in her junior campaign.
New Mexico Lobos (12-5-4 in 2011)
After taking on the Vandals on Friday, a very familiar opponent rolls into Lubbock.
The New Mexico Lobos will meet with the Red Raiders for the second time this year, as the two squads clashed in the spring, with Tech winning 2-0.
New Mexico finished 12-5-4 and 9-0-0 in Mountain West Conference, which secured the Lobos a second-consecutive regular season championship and are expected to win that same title this season.
Player to watch for the Lobos is the player guarding their goal, Kelli Cornell, who recorded 10 shutouts in 21 games. Cornell was named the 2011 All-Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year.