2008 RED RAIDER SOCCER
2007 Season Review
After a breakthrough season in only his first year, Texas Tech head coach Tom Stone has quickly raised the expectations of the Red Raider soccer program.
Not only did the Red Raiders qualify for the Big 12 Championship for the first time since 1999, but Tech also fell a couple wins shy of putting its name in the running for an NCAA Tournament bid, which would have been the first in school history.
Still, after looking back on the 2007 campaign, Stone and his staff have a lot to feel good about heading into their second season.
Being hired in late May, Stone had little time to get acquainted with his new play- ers and fully install his coaching philosophy. After starting the season 2-3-1 in its non-conference slate with two matches canceled, Tech defeated Colorado in its Big 12 opener, 1-0, mostly as a result of Stone’s focus on defense.
Prior to the season, Stone moved Tech’s leading returning scorer, Brittney Har- rison, to the back line in hope that her speed and athleticism would strengthen a young back line.
After losing the next three matches to three of the league’s top four teams in Texas, Missouri and Kansas, the Red Raiders rebounded with a weekend sweep of Iowa State and Nebraska. The victory over the Cyclones ended a ten-match losing streak to Iowa State, while the Nebraska win was the first in program his- tory.
Tech would add an additional point the following weekend in Norman, Okla. in a double-overtime tie against Oklahoma, before defeating the then No. 18 team in the country, Oklahoma State, two days later.
With wins in three of their last four matches, the Red Raiders carried their momen- tum into the second-annual “Battle for the Brand” game against Baylor. Down a goal in the match’s final ten minutes, Tech rebounded quickly with two goals from Sarabeth Clopton and Zhaleh Rezaie to guarantee the Red Raiders’ first winning conference record since 1996, but also a trip to the Big 12 Championship.
The Red Raiders would close the regular season with a 5-0 loss to the second- ranked Texas A&M Aggies.
While this type of loss would typically crush most teams, Tech carried its late-sea- son success into its first round match against Missouri in the Big 12 Champion- ship Quarterfinals. Being a second-half team all season, the Red Raiders would quickly get on the board within the match’s first six minutes.
After completing the match’s first 90 minutes in a 3-3 tie, the Red Raiders would head into their third overtime of the season. Unlike its previous two encounters, however, the Red Raiders would falter and Missouri advanced to the semifinals with a 4-3 double-overtime victory. Tech ended its season 7-8-2, 5-4-1 in the Big 12.
When looking back on the 2007 season, however, the Red Raiders took a major step in Stone’s first season, especially for a team that was predicted to finish last in the pre-season coaches’ poll.
With a focus on defense, the 2007 season has raised the bar for Texas Tech soc- cer. Seeing this development in such little time, Stone and the Red Raiders have to feel confident about 2008 since they will have a full season plus the spring to further develop as a team.
As the saying goes, with great success comes greater expectations.
2007 BIG 12 STANDINGS
Zhaleh Rezaie led the Red Raiders in 2007 with six goals and 13 points.