LUBBOCK, Texas – No. 15 Texas Tech clinched a two-seed in the upcoming Big 12 Tournament at home Thursday night after downing Kansas State, 4-1. The Red Raiders won each of their final three Big 12 games to finish with 20 points on the season.
Despite a chilly night at the John Walker Soccer Complex, the Red Raider offense was hot right away.
The scoring started early and often, with Kirsten Davis netting a goal just over three minutes into the game. She was fed a great ball over the top by Jordie Harr and, despite going off the cross bar with her first shot, was able to corral the rebound and punch it in for the game's first goal.
Seven minutes later, Charlotte Teeter got into the mix with her second goal in as many games. Her score was also on a second chance, as her first shot was blocked by a K-State defender in the box. Demi Koulizakis grabbed hold of the deflection and kicked it back out to Teeter, who buried it in the lower far corner to make it 2-0.
Not five minutes went by before Davis was back on the prowl again. This time, Jayne Lydiatt pushed a perfect pass through to the St. Louis, Mo., native as she got behind the back line and found herself one-on-one with the Wildcat keeper. Davis took her time before slotting it in the lower left corner as the keeper slid at her. Davis will end the regular season with 15 goals, earning her the title of the conference scoring leader.
In the 20th minute, the game entered blowout status when Penelope Mulenga found space at the top of the box and netted her first collegiate goal. The freshman picked up a loose ball for which Koulizakis and a K-State player were fighting and took one touch before blasting it into the top corner. Her score made her the fifth freshman to record a goal this season.
The Red Raiders finished the regular season with 36 goals – good for second in the Big 12. The team saw goals from 12 different players, up from 10 in 2018.
"We've had some players step up, but I think we're more of an attacking team than we were a year ago," said head coach Tom Stone. "Last year we were more attacking players, but now we're more of an attacking unit. That's much more dangerous and harder to stop."
Stone allotted playing time to 21 players Thursday night. For the 13th-year coach, game experience for his reserves at this point in the season is critical.
"We're built for the long haul," Stone said. "We're a deep team, and the tournament rewards deep teams. As you can see tonight, we played a lot of players in a Big 12 game. We're excited about our opportunities there."
The Red Raiders finished the regular season at 14-2-2. The 0.833 won-lost-tied percentage that creates is the best for a Tech team in the regular season since 2013. It is the second time in program history Tech compiled six wins in Big 12 play, the other coming in 2014 prior to the Red Raiders' run to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
The Red Raiders will depart for Kansas City, Mo., tomorrow ready to enter the Big 12 Championship as the top seed. They will face off with seven-seed Baylor in the quarterfinals at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.