A championship remains just out of reach for the Texas Tech soccer team, but the Red Raiders continue to close in on their ultimate goal.
Perhaps no contest this season exemplified this more than the gut-wrenching 3-2 loss to Long Beach State on Sept. 1. Texas Tech lost another heartbreaker Friday night in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on penalty kicks to Texas A&M, ending the Red Raiders' season in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Tom Stone has taken Texas Tech soccer to new heights every season as head coach.
The 2013 season was no different. For the third consecutive season, the Red Raiders had their best season in program history. Tech won their first ever Big 12 tournament game and appeared in their first ever NCAA tournament in 2012.
The Red Raiders took it up a notch in 2013. Tech lost one regular season game. From the moment Tech kicked off the season in Albuquerque, Red Raider fans who watched the game knew Tech had a special defense. Senior goalkeeper Victoria Esson recorded 15 shutouts, doubling the program record single season total she had already set with seven in each of the previous two years. Senior defender and team captain Hayley Haagsma scored four goals.
Tech would not allow a goal until the second half of the fourth game. The Red Raiders took a 1-0 lead at halftime against the Long Beach State 49ers. The 49ers came out of the locker room and tied up the game. Tech would score again and have the lead with three minutes remaining until the 49ers scored again. With seconds remaining, Tech had the ball and it seemed like overtime was inevitable until the 49ers stole the ball.
It would eventually be passed to Mimi Rangel who on a leap of faith shot, snuck the ball past a diving Esson for the game-winning goal with two seconds remaining. The Red Raiders did not lose another regular season game.
Tech finished Big 12 play unbeaten and went undefeated on the road. The Red Raiders also handed defending Big 12 champion West Virginia their first conference regular season loss since joining the Big 12 in 2012. Although the Red Raiders dominated the Mountaineers, Tech would finish in second place, just one point behind West Virginia. Tech had two scoreless ties on the road against Oklahoma State and Baylor. Again, one goal was the difference between a Big 12 championship and second place.
After three convincing home wins against Kansas, West Virginia and Texas, the Red Raiders had the momentum heading to the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City. The Red Raiders drew seventh seeded TCU, a team they defeated 2-0 earlier in the year. Tech took care of business in the first round.
The second round came two days later and Tech had yet to give up a first half goal. The Oklahoma State Cowgirls ended the streak. The Cowgirls scored a goal in the first half and it was enough to make the difference. Oklahoma State would eventually lose to top seeded West Virginia in the finals.
Tom Stone's squad would be awarded a home game in the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season. A hungry Texas Tech team came out and scorched the Minnesota Golden Gophers 3-0. The next opponent: fourth seeded Texas A&M.
The rivalry was renewed. The two teams had not met since 2011, the final season Texas A&M played in the Big 12 Conference. The game was played in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on the campus of the University of North Carolina. The winner would advance to play the victor of Indiana and the defending national champion North Carolina Tar Heels. It seemed like the perfect time to get revenge on the Aggies, who had only lost to Tech once with the defeat coming in 1999, and prove to the nation Tech is a force to be reckoned with.
The two teams battled back-and-forth in the first half. In the opening minutes of the second half, Briana Rohmer took a breakaway pass and gave the Red Raiders a 1-0 lead. The Aggies would come back on a corner kick to tie up the game.
In minute 74, Janine Beckie stole a pass and broke away to easily net a go-ahead goal. It seemed as if Tech would upset the fourth seeded Aggies and move on to the third round. Ten minutes later, the Aggies found a way to tie up the game. The match would go through two overtimes and eventually onto penalty kicks. Both teams scored on the first two tries, but sophomore defender Jade Dapaah's shot was blocked by Texas A&M's Jordan Day on attempt number three. The Aggies scored the next goal. Janine Beckie would tie up the shootout, but the Aggies answered. Tech had to score again.
Sophomore midfielder Alli Murphy kicked the ball on target, but Day came up with a match-ending save. Once again, the Red Raiders were one goal away from a program milestone.
The Red Raiders finished the season with the best record in school history at 18-3-3 with a program best Big 12 record of 7-1-2 including both tournaments. This is just the beginning though. With Tom Stone as head coach and players such as sophomore forward Janine Beckie and freshman forward Maddy Crabtree developing, the sky is the limit. Texas Tech soccer is on the brink of something amazing and they are just one goal away from being a championship program.
Tech Loses a Heartbreaker to Texas A&M
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