LUBBOCK, Texas – The Big 12 announced Tuesday its soccer members will play a conference-only schedule for the 2020 season. This leaves Texas Tech, which last week was voted the preseason favorite, with a nine-game regular season slate for the fall.
"We are thankful for the opportunity to compete in a fall Big 12 season," said head coach Tom Stone. "Given how hard these players have worked to be ready for this and despite all the challenges we've faced, this is truly remarkable. We are so proud of these young ladies and are excited for them that they get to do what they love when so many have been sidelined.
"It's not a long season, but it'll be an exciting one to get to play all Big 12 members in a once-a-week scenario to see who comes out on top."
The Red Raiders will begin the campaign with a trip to Manhattan, Kan., on Sept. 11, where Tech will meet Kansas State for the fourth time in the young program’s history. The Red Raiders are unbeaten against the Wildcats, outscoring them 9-2 in three contests. After going winless their first two seasons in the conference, K-State will enter 2020 looking to build off their first-ever Big 12 win, which came last season against Iowa State.
Manhattan will lead to the first home game of the season when Baylor visits the John Walker Soccer Complex on Sept. 18. Last fall, Tech completed a two-game sweep over Baylor for the first time in program history. Both wins could not have come at better times. The first took place in Waco, where Kirsten Davis netted two goals to lift Tech over the Bears on the road for the first time since 2008. The goal kept Tech firmly in the hunt for the regular season conference crown. Not two weeks later, Davis would score again to send Baylor home from the Big 12 Championship.
The following weekend, the Red Raiders will play Kansas on the road on Sept. 25. Kansas, who went on to win the Big 12 Championship Tournament last fall, will be looking to avenge a senior night loss dished out by the Red Raiders. Jade King was responsible for the 2018 overtime victory in Lawrence when her shot deflected off a Jayhawk defender and into the net to send the Red Raiders rushing the field. Last fall, the two teams emerged scoreless after two overtimes, each leaving Lubbock with a point towards the standings.
The Red Raiders’ season will continue with a trip to Norman to play Oklahoma on Oct. 2. A full three points against the Sooners has been elusive the last two seasons, as both meetups have resulted in draws. However, Tech is unbeaten in each of the last five games against Oklahoma.
Oct. 9 will see West Virginia return to the John Walker Soccer Complex. The Mountaineers have stolen wins in Lubbock in each of their past two visits, but Tech will look for a repeat of last season when Hannah Anderson’s penalty kick sealed Tech’s first win in Morgantown in program history.
On Oct. 16, the Red Raiders will try again to take three points from what has proven to be a tough TCU side. Though Tech knocked the Horned Frogs out of the Big 12 Championship in 2018, it was the team from Fort Worth who returned the favor last fall. The Red Raiders were unbeaten against the Horned Frogs for six years from 2009-15, but it is TCU who has yet to lose to Tech since then.
Tech’s campaign will carry on with another home game when Iowa State visits Lubbock on Oct. 23. The Red Raiders are unbeaten in their last eight matches with the Cyclones. The streak consists of seven wins, including a dramatic double overtime victory on the road last season courtesy of the right foot of Sierra Jones. Though the Cyclones were picked to finish tied for last in the conference, Stone maintains the visitors from Ames are capable of taking anyone the distance, as evidenced by last season’s near-draw.
The following weekend, Oct. 30, will see Tech visit Stillwater to face the reigning Big 12 Champions, Oklahoma State, who are picked second behind the Red Raiders this season.
Tech has tallied 1-0 wins over the Cowgirls in each of their last two meetings, both of which were exciting affairs. Tech’s last match in Stillwater, which came in 2018, was won after Ally Griffin won and successfully converted a penalty kick in the second half. The Red Raiders survived an onslaught of Cowgirl pressure to enter the Oklahoma State record books as the first team to defeat the Cowgirls at their newly-built Neal Patterson Stadium. Last fall, Demi Koulizakis was responsible for the game-winner to open conference play against the then-No. 18 Cowgirls.
Tech’s home finale will once again be against rival Texas, who will come to Lubbock on Nov. 6. The Longhorns will be looking for revenge after the Red Raiders downed them in overtime in Austin last fall on their senior day. The year prior, Kirsten Davis scored a dramatic game-winner with three minutes left to successfully defend her squad’s home field. Texas is picked to finish fifth in the tightly-packed middle of this year’s conference coaches poll.