The 2012 season will long be remembered by the Texas Tech women’s soccer program. The 2012 team set new standards for the program and made accomplishments never before achieved at Tech.
Led by coach Tom Stone, the Red Raiders (16-6-1, 5-3-1) broke the school record for overall wins, conference wins and earned the program’s first NCAA tournament berth. The team finished the year outscoring opponents 46-23 while outshooting them 428-257, including a 213-122 advantage in shots on goal.
“I think when we look back on 2012 we will be most excited that this group of players were the ones who were able to make the NCAA tournament and turn the corner for the program,” Stone said. “This senior class was the first full freshman class that we ever recruited. They came here knowing about the vision, knowing about the dream, the facility and we were going to build a great team around them.”
Tech took advantage of its first experience in the NCAA tournament, defeating North Texas 2-0 in the first round in Lubbock at the John B. Walker Soccer Complex. Stone said his favorite moment of the season was walking with the team off the field as the crowd roared and chanted “Raider Power.”
“They were chanting ‘Raider Power’ as our girls were walking off having fully realized their goal of making the tournament,” Stone said. “Every parent on our team was pretty much here. It was just a great moment to say not only did we get in, but we won and we did it here. We were able to give this gift back to the local community who supported us when we weren’t very good. It was the highlight for me. Being able to see that all come together and be able to do that here at Texas Tech is a special moment for us all.”
Tech lost 3-2 in the second round to top-seeded Florida State, which eventually advanced to the Final Four. Despite the loss, freshman forward Janine Beckie said forcing overtime was her favorite moment of the season.
“It’s so exciting,” Beckie said. “I mean no one even thought we would stay with (Florida State) and the fact that we brought them to double overtime with six minutes left. My favorite feeling is just shocking the country. No one thought we would get that far. No one thought we would even make the tournament, and we got to the second round.”
As a team, the Red Raiders finished with its first national ranking, appearing at No. 25 in the final poll released by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Several players were recognized after the season for their individual accomplishments and roles in helping Tech soccer reach new highs.
Beckie, sophomore defender Jaelene Hinkle and sophomore midfielder Paige Strahan were named to the NSCAA All-Central Region team. Beckie, the Big 12 Rookie of the Year, was a first-team selection while Hinkle and Strahan were second-team selections.
Beckie became the Tech soccer program’s first All-American after being named to the second NSCAA All-America team. She was one of two freshmen on the three All-America squads. Beckie led the Red Raiders with 14 goals and 122 shots, and also tied with Hinkle for the team lead in assists with five.
“At the end of the season I didn’t even really know about it before I got it,” Beckie said. “It was something I didn’t expect, but I heard about it. It’s exciting. That kind of stuff, it excites me but I’m not like ‘Oh my gosh.’ That stuff just comes with the game. That’s what I love is just getting out there. All the awards come with it, but I like just being on the field.”
Beckie being named an All-American was heart-warming, Stone said, because he enjoys seeing great things happen to good people. Beckie is a great-student athlete, he said, and a great representative for the university.
“Beckie doesn’t take anything lightly when it comes to training or preparation,” Stone said. “I think the lesson she gives to everybody is when you’re all in and you’ve got God-given talent anyway, but you’re heart is in it and your mind is in it—even when you’re totally exhausted — good things happen.”
Overall, the season was a storybook year, Stone said. However, it’s important for the players to learn from this season and be able to do more next year. While the players may want every year to be just like the previous one, he said, the bar has been raised for the program.
“Our ultimate goal is to never just make the tournament,” Stone said. “We knew that was a short-term goal that needed to happen so that we can go for bigger things.”