Photo CC: team-pic.com
The Texas Tech soccer team heads into 2020 with high expectations. After appearing in the NCAA Tournament in three of the last four seasons, the Red Raiders are primed to be near the top of the Big 12 all season long in 2020. With players like Kristen Davis, the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year in 2019, set to return as a well as Madison White, the Red Raiders are set to embark on the 2020 season with a loaded backline and a front line that consists of three of the best forwards in the Big 12.
Before we get into the team preview, we must say that due to COVID-19, the Red Raiders will play a Big 12 only schedule. Here is the schedule for Tech this fall,
Goalkeeper U anyone? I kid, but in all seriousness, it might not be that untrue. Coming into 2020, Tech is loaded at the keeper position with projected starter and true SO, Madison White returning as the starter for the Red Raiders. In White’s freshman year, she led the Red Raiders to the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament, was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year, and named to the 2019 First Team All-Big 12. They did lose 2019 opening night starter, Marissa Zucchetto to transfer. Zucchetto was the starter last season until she got hurt in the game against USF down in Tampa and White never looked back as the starter. However, Coach Stone and crew have gone out on the recruiting trail and gathered talented keepers to backup White.
Sydney Malmstrom is a JUCO transfer originally from Whitehouse, TX. Malmstrom, a junior, played at Tyler JC where she helped lead the program to their fourth NJCAA National Championship. In 2019, Malmstrom had a record of 21-1-1 for Tyler JC and GAA of 0.71 for the year.
Madison Martin is the third goalkeeper on the roster for Tech in 2020. The walk-on true freshman keeper is a Southlake Carroll, TX native. She started all four years in goal for the Dragons, won a 6A state championship in 2019 and was named goalkeeper of the year for all four years she played in HS.
The backline defense is key to any team’s long terms success. For the Red Raiders in 2020, the backline will return three of the starting four from 2019. The lone departure from the starting unit is Gabbie Puente.
Cassie Hiatt leads the way for the backline in 2020 for the Red Raiders. In her two previous years on campus, Hiatt has been a tone-setter and integral part of the Tech defense. In 2019 alone, these were the honors she received.
- 2019 Third Team All-American
- 2019 First Team All-Midwest
- 2019 First Team All-Big 12
- 2019 First Team Academic All-Big 12
- 2019 Preseason All-Big 12
Hiatt will look to take another step in her game in 2020 and become even more of force than she has been her first two years on campus.
Hannah Anderson, the true sophomore from Plano made her presence felt in her first year in the Scarlet and Black. As a true freshman, Anderson stepped in from day one and started every game played for the squad in 2019, she was only one of two players to achieve this. She was an anchor alongside Hiatt on the backline for Tech and helped secure program first wins including that of having the winning PK in Morgantown against WVU. Alongside Hiatt, it’s going to be difficult to find a better backline duo in the Big 12.
Amanda Porter is the other returning starting tech defender. Porter has an interesting story as she transferred from Arizona to the 806 after her Sophomore season. She was granted immediate eligibility and moved from a forward position at UofA to a backline role at Tech. There were a few mishaps, as to be expected with the position change, but she gave Tech a hybrid type player that made it feel that had an extra possible attacker on the field at all times. Porter is aggressive when pushing the ball forward and the speed that made her such a great point getting forward, helps her stay with some of the best forwards in the country. She will be better in year two of a position change for the Red Raiders.
The ladies listed above are most likely to start in 2020 for the Red Raiders. As per usual with a Coach Stone roster, there is another seven to eight girls that will get playing time. This includes,
(In numerical order)
#2 Sierra Jones (RS-SO)
#7 Briley Weatherford (FR)
#8 Brittany Martin (RS-JR)
#17 Maci Hargrove (SR)
#18 Katie Odum (FR)
#24 Margaret Begley (RS-5th yr, Captain)
#26 Luana Munoz (SR)
#30 Elise Anderson (FR)
Like the other position groups on the roster, the midfield is loaded. The midfield for Tech saw a changing of the guard of sorts last season as a true freshman, Penelope Mulenga took over and started 17 of the 22 games Tech played. Her, Charlotte Teeter and Jordie Harr are all returning for the Red Raiders, the three that started a majority of the games in 2019.
Jordie Harr was coming off an ACL injury to begin the 2019 campaign and if you didn’t know, you couldn’t tell by her play. She raked up multiple awards last year leading the midfield group alongside Jayne Lydiatt, who graduated. Harr awards from the 2019 campaign include,
- 2019 Second Team All-Midwest
- 2019 Big 12 All-Tournament Team
- 2019 First Team All-Big 12
- 2019 First Team Academic All-Big 12
She will look to continue to lead the midfield unit and take her game to the next level in 2020.
Penelope Mulenga, a freshman in 2019 of the way of Canada, came out and made sure that she was known. Her physical play as a freshman gave Texas Tech an edge in the midfield. She is a long rangy athlete that has a quick first step and isn’t afraid to stick her nose into any situation on the field. In 2019, she scored twice including the first goal of the NCAA Tournament for Tech. In her sophomore campaign, expect Mulenga to build upon her game and take that next step alongside two of the best midfielders in the Big 12.
One of those two midfielders is Charlotte Teeter. Teeter came to Tech in 2018 as a true freshman from Georgia. She quickly made an impact in her freshman season and in 2019, she continued to progress her game as a sophomore. Teeter is a physical player that much like Mulenga, isn’t afraid of any situation on the field. She is a “jack of all trades” in the midfield for Tech meaning, she is a reliable defender when needed, but can also be used as an extra attacker as seen by her goal total (7) from her first two seasons on campus.
The fourth midfielder spot looks to be up for grabs in camp for the Red Raiders. It will be interesting to see who Coach Stone and Crew deem as the other starter with the girls listed above or, do they decide to play three forwards to be extra aggressive, something Coach Stone is known for. There are plenty of good options including, girls that played meaningful minutes in 2019. Here are the other midfielders on the roster for the Red Raiders in 2020.
#10 Haley Smith (SO)
#13 Marissa Ling (RS-SO)
#16 Nicole Mettam (SO)
#27 Jen Rose (JR)
#28 Madison Michel (SO)
#29 Avery Chaney (FR)
With Coach Stone at the helm, Texas Tech Soccer has been known for how aggressive they are on the field, how smart and detailed the players are, and of course, for the unrelenting attack. The latter of those three is due in large part to the talented forwards that Coach Stone and Crew have recruited to the 806. The group of forwards on the 2020 squad might just be the best yet, as the Red Raiders are set to return their leading goal scorers from the past three years.
Let’s start with Kirsten Davis the Offensive Big 12 Player of the Year in 2019. Davis was arguably the best forward in the country in her junior campaign. She received 1st team All-American honors and led the Big 12 in scoring through the conference tournament. Per Texas Tech Soccer, this is where Davis currently ranks in the Texas Tech Soccer record books,
- #1 in single-season game-winning goals with six in 2019
- #2 in career game-winning goals with 11
- #2 in single-season points with 39 in 2019
- #3 in single-season goals with 16 in 2019
- #4 in career points with 68
- #5 in career goals with 27
- #7 in career assists with 14
- #7 in single-season assists with seven in both 2018 and 2019
- One of two players in program history (Janine Beckie twice) to have four points in an NCAA Tournament game
Quite the list of accomplishments for Davis, she will look to build upon her historic junior campaign as she welcomes back two other prolific goal scorers.
Jade King was the leading goal scorer for Tech in 2018, but an injury in 2019 cut her season short after only three games. King is known for putting the ball in the back of the net and her aggressive playstyle much like Davis listed above. King is coming back for her redshirt senior season and she wants to make it count and move up the Texas Tech record books. As it stands right now, this is where King ranks in a few categories in the Tech record books,
- #8 in single-season shot attempts with 75 in 2016
- #8 in career game-winning goals with seven
- #9 in career shot attempts with 160
- #10 in single-season game-winning goals with four in 2018
In 2020, she will play alongside two of the greatest goal scorers in Tech history which should open up space for all of the forwards on the roster.
Ally Griffin led Tech in the goal department as a true freshman in 2017. She scored six goals that season and tried to carry that success into her sophomore season. A lingering injury didn’t let her take that full next step in her game in 2018 and in 2019, she redshirted to ensure a full recovery. Now in 2020, she seems ready to go and help that lethal front line of Texas Tech. Tech is one of very few teams in the country that has its leading goal scorers from the previous three years returning in 2020. Griffin will look to show she is back to health and build upon her historic freshman campaign in 2017.
Those three girls will garner a ton of attention this season and rightfully so. How often does a program bring back their three leading goal scorers from the previous three seasons? Not very often and Tech has that opportunity in 2020. Look for Coach Stone and Crew to play these girls in spurts. What I mean by that, is he will allow them to go all out for a 10-15 minute period then sub them out and continue this process to always put pressure on the opponent’s backline. This has worked for the Red Raiders in the past, so with these three girls returning, not to mention the depth this position group has, Tech is in a primed spot to be the premier offensive attack in the Big 12 in 2020.
The other forwards listed on the roster are,
#3 Macy Schultz (SO)
#15 Gisselle Kozarski (FR)
#19 Madison Drenowatz (SO)
#20 Marisa Wechel (SO)
#23 Taya Lopz (RS-FR)
When looking at this roster from top to bottom, there are very little flaws. Coach Stone and Crew have done a great job of recruiting different regions of the country and world to find players that fit their scheme and program. He has helped develop Texas Tech Soccer into a Big 12 powerhouse that is always seemingly competing or near the top of the Big 12. This year should be no different with the depth, talent, and leadership on this roster. This year may look different due to COVID-19 and there only being a Big 12 schedule, but it won’t look different in the sense of Texas Tech being near or atop of the Big 12.
Record Prediction: 8-1 (1st place and winners of the Big 12)