PULLMAN, Wash. – Texas Tech completed its third consecutive weekend sweep Sunday, taking down UC Irvine, 4-2, to win the Cougar Classic.
"Overall we were pleased with the weekend," said head coach Tom Stone. "We are still growing in terms of our team defending, but learning every game. The maturity of our attacked has been fun to see take hold."
Tech's sixth straight victory came on the back of yet another multi-goal game from Kirsten Davis. The junior, who has tallied two goals in three games this season, now has nine in eight matches. It extends her lead on the fastest scoring start in program history.
"Kirsten lost two of her running mates in Ally [Griffin] and Jade [King], but she has stepped to the forefront," Stone said. "She has teamed up very well with Demi and Macy Schultz."
Davis, who knocked in the game-winner in Friday's match against Loyola Marymount, wasted no time getting on the board against the Anteaters. She took a pass from Jayne Lydiatt just over 60 seconds into the game and sprinted down the right side, where she outran her defender and finished high for the score. It is the second weekend in a row she has scored in the second minute of a game, doing so last Friday against Abilene Christian.
Tech has scored within the first 25 minutes in all but one of its wins so far this season.
"Scoring early helps us set the pace and tempo of the game," Davis said. "We are able to be more in control and play our own game."
The Tech lead doubled in the 15th minute when an Anteater defender got her hand on a Red Raider cross inside the box. A penalty was awarded, and for the second consecutive weekend Stone called upon freshman Hannah Anderson to take it. She trotted up from the back line and buried it to make it 2-0.
Eight minutes later, Davis would go for her second of the game off a miscue by two Irvine players, who handed the ball off to the forward in the backfield. Davis took off and beat the last defender between her and net to the right. The Irvine keeper stepped up and blocked her first shot, but Davis one-timed the rebound and scored.
The Red Raiders hit the half with three goals on the scoreboard for the fourth time this season.
"When you go into the half with the lead, you just have to ask yourself what it is that has caused our opponent problems so you can continue that trend," Stone said. "Our team is quite responsive to halftime adjustments, and that's a great quality to have in a young team."
The Anteaters got on the board right away after the half, however, scoring just a minute in to spoil the shutout.
Despite the two goal-game ticking down to the final 10 minutes, the action picked up on both sides. Tech tacked on another goal in the 84th when Davis rushed the right side of the box and sent a quick cross to Macy Schultz, who tapped it past the keeper for her second of the year. The goal gave Davis five assists and her third five-point game of the fall. For Schultz, she is the third freshman with multiple goals already (Hannah Anderson and Marisa Weichel), surpassing last year's count of two.
"I think it gives us younger players a lot of confidence seeing each other succeed and convert when we are in scoring positions," Schultz said. "I think we are feeding off each other's confidence, which is beneficial for each of us."
Irvine got another goal past the Tech defense in the winding minute, but Tech emerged with the two-goal victory to complete the weekend unbeaten and be declared the winners of the Cougar Classic.
Non-conference play will be concluded next weekend with perhaps the toughest one on the slate: No. 25 South Florida. The Red Raiders will travel to Tampa for the Saturday match – their first against a ranked opponent this season.
"We're happy to be 7-1, but realistically the best team on our non-conference awaits us in Florida," Stone said. "After that, we need to be on track with the Big 12 approaching."
Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. Saturday.