LUBBOCK, Texas -- Playing near her hometown for possibly the final time in her collegiate career, Janine Beckie put together quite the performance, recording a hat trick Saturday night with three goals in Texas Tech's 4-1 exhibition victory over Denver at CIBER Field.
Beckie, the reigning Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, netted two goals just before the half and then added another in the 88th minute to help lead the Red Raiders to an exhibition victory over Denver for the third-consecutive season.
"We had the typical first-game jitters and played some young players but once we settled in and found a good rhythm, we created and scored some nice goals," Texas Tech head coach Tom Stone said. "We saw plenty to work on but we also feel we took some excellent steps towards being the team we want to be today."
"We saw plenty to work on but we also feel we took some excellent steps towards being the team we want to be today."
Beckie, a native of nearby Highlands Ranch, Colorado, scored her first goal in the 42nd minute off a through pass from Caity Heap in the box. The goal came less than seven minutes after the match resumed following a 51-minute weather delay.
Beckie found the back of the net again less than two minutes later, this time off a long pass from freshman Margaret Begley that gave Beckie a one-on-one opportunity against Denver goalkeeper Cassidy Rey. Rey faced 18 shot attempts on the night, six of which that came from Beckie.
The two late first-half goals were rewarding for a Texas Tech attack that dominated possession for most of the first half as the Red Raiders controlled a 10-1 advantage in shot attempts and 4-1 lead in corner kicks en route to the 2-0 halftime lead.
Denver, the preseason favorite to win the Summit League, responded early in the second half with a goal from Leah Swander in the 57th minute. Swander headed in a Stella Norman free kick that was launched from just inside the midfield line.
The Pioneers remained within striking distance of an equalizer until the 88th minute when Meagan McCullough found Beckie with a through ball down the right side of the field, setting up her second career hat trick. Beckie also scored three goals in the opening match of the 2014 NCAA Championship against Prairie View A&M.
It wouldn't be the final goal for the Red Raiders, though, as a pair of freshmen in Brooke Denesik and Carly Wickenheiser teamed up less than 90 seconds later. Wickenheiser, who played all 90 minutes in her collegiate debut, fired at goal first, only for Denesik to follow with the goal off the rebound.
"After giving up the goal in the second half, the game tightened up and Denver had some momentum so I was really pleased with our response," Stone said. "Over the next 20 minutes, we kept the ball well and sealed the game with two more late goals. That was nice to see so early in the season."
The Red Raiders open the 2015 season next Friday against Southern California in the Lobo Invitational hosted by New Mexico. Texas Tech will also face the host Lobos on Aug. 23 to conclude the tournament.