Texas Tech Soccer Opens Season At Lobo Invitational - FOX34 Lubbock

Texas Tech Soccer Opens Season At Lobo Invitational

Janine Beckie Janine Beckie

LUBBOCK, Texas - Texas Tech will begin the 2015 campaign on the road as they travel to Albuquerque, N.M. for a pair of games against USC and New Mexico as part of the Lobos Invitational at the UNM Soccer Complex. The match against USC will turn the page and open the 2015-16 athletic year as it will be the first event of new academic year.

"This is easily the hardest opening game we have had," Texas Tech head coach Tom Stone said. "To play a team who I think is a contender to win the Pac-12 Championship, one of the top conferences in the country and face Keidane McAlpine one of the toughest coaches we will face all year, we have our work cut out for us. It is not the best balance when we get younger and USC gets older and we run into each other, but it is a great first game that has had our attention for a while. We are looking forward to the entire weekend. On Sunday we will face a team that is in our region who played us great in the spring. There is no easy out here this weekend and it will be a tough Friday and a tough Sunday. "

The Red Raiders enter the 2015 season with 19 letter winners returning to a squad who posted a 16-4-2 record in the 2014 season including a 4-1-1 mark in conference play. 

Texas Tech will face USC for the first time in program history on Friday at 6 p.m. at the UNM Soccer Complex. USC is receiving votes in national the national polls following a 2014 season that saw the Trojans reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2010 season. USC Head Coach Keidane McAlpine returns 18 players from last season's roster including nine starters while welcoming in two premier transfers including former Notre Dame standout midfielder Morgan Andrews.

Texas Tech and head coach Tom Stone enter Sunday's match with a 2-0 career record against the Lobos as Tech defeated New Mexico 2-0 at the John Walker Soccer Complex in Lubbock during the 2012 season. New Mexico holds a 3-4-1 overall advantage in the series dating back to 1995. This will be just the third meeting between the two programs since 2004.

Texas Tech will look to continue their winning ways in opening weekend play as they face two quality opponents in the Lobo Invitational. The Red Raiders are a combined 14-2 over the past decade in opening weekend games and have outscored opponents 39-6 over that stretch including 13 shutouts. The Red Raiders have not lost in an opening weekend game since the 2007 season. 

Coming off one of the best seasons in program history, the Texas Tech soccer program will open its 2015 campaign ranked 15th in the preseason NSCAA top-25 poll. It is the highest preseason ranking ever for the Red Raiders, who began the 2014 season ranked 17th before eventually ending the year at No. 14 overall. Tech previously opened its 2013 campaign ranked 23rd nationally. Texas Tech head coach Tom Stone returns eight starts off his NCAA Sweet 16 team from a year ago that finished 16-4-2 overall and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Championship for the first time in program history. The Red Raiders were one of three Big 12 Conference teams in the preseason rankings, joining West Virginia, which was three spots ahead of Texas Tech at No. 12 overall, and Kansas which enters its season at No. 23 nationally. Fellow conference foes Texas and Oklahoma also received votes. 

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