The Texas Tech soccer team fell to No. 12 University of Virginia in round two of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, Nov. 16, in Waco.
The Red Raiders entered the match searching for the team’s second Sweet Sixteen bid in program history. The contest also marks the fifth time that Tech has made an appearance in the round of 32 portion of the postseason bracket.
The game proved to be tight-knit when the final whistle blew and the score was still 0-0, forcing overtime, according to Tech Athletics. After a scoreless golden goal overtime, the squads went head-to-head in penalty kicks. Virginia clinched a spot in the Sweet Sixteen after defeating the Red Raiders in PK's, 4-2. Virginia will move on to face Baylor in the next round of the tournament.
“They’re top-10 in the country in goals scored, and to shut them out and not get the win is a tough pill to swallow,” Tech head coach Tom Stone said, according to Tech Athletics.
Virginia finished the first half having outshot the Red Raiders, 5-4, according to Tech Athletics. Junior forward Jade King and sophomore forward Kirsten Davis had a few solid scoring opportunities but weren’t able to execute any of them successfully.
“We capitalized twice — once on King’s breakaway and the other on Kirsten’s where she got fouled. Those two opportunities, I think, would’ve given us the lead,” Stone said, according to Tech Athletics. “With the way we’ve defended all year I think we would’ve held on to it.”
The Cavalier offense came out hot in the second half, attempting 10 shots while taking seven corners, according to Tech Athletics. The Red Raider defense was able to take control of each situation, making key defensive plays to fight off the Virginia offensive attack.
Goalkeeper Marissa Zucchetto made six saves throughout the two halves of play, according to Tech Athletics. Zucchetto’s most notable block came with just two minutes left in regulation when she successfully tipped a line-drive shot attempt up and over the crossbar.
Throughout the entire 20 minutes of overtime, the Red Raiders prevailed, sending off three shot attempts compared to the Cavalier’s one, according to Tech Athletics. Still, the match was scoreless and penalty kicks ensued.
Despite successful PK’s by Zucchetto and senior midfielder Carly Wickenheiser, Tech was unable match Virginia, according to Tech Athletics.
With the conclusion of the season, six players of the remaining nine from Tech’s first ever Big 12 Championship team are preparing to graduate, according to Tech Athletics. This year’s team put together the program’s best record since the 2015 season.
“They’re one of the most sure and grounded senior classes we’ve ever had,” Stone said, according to Tech Athletics. “In addition to being great players, they’re just great women. They just completely fir the bill of a student-athlete. They completely drove our team this year and our program is better for them having been here.”
The departing players have left a mark on their teammates returning to the squad next year, according to Tech Athletics. Senior and co-captain Carly Wickenheiser, who leads Tech’s current roster with 83 appearances, expressed her feelings for next year’s team.
“Just because these seniors are leaving, that feeling and that desire is not going to leave with us,” Wickenheiser said, according to Tech Athletics. “With the result tonight, I think they will realize that they can get more. The team that’s going to come back next year is going to be gritty and they are going to be a force that everyone is going to have to deal with. I’m really excited to watch that next year.”