Texas Tech soccer’s junior goalkeeper Marissa Zucchetto had to get 25 stitches after colliding with a University of South Florida player on Saturday. With the starting goalkeeper out, freshman goalkeeper Madison White was sent to play for her first time as a Red Raider.
White’s work on the field earned her the title of the Big 12 Freshman of the Week and national recognition as Top Drawer’s Player of the Week, according to Tech Athletics.
“We’ve always known she could (play well). In practice, every day she is so hard to score on,” senior midfielder Savanna Jones said. “She didn’t get any time to warm up, she just put herself in and now she is Freshman of the Week, so that says it all. She did so good and we trust her in goal. We were literally just cheering and yelling for her even when the ball was on the other side of the field. We were yelling for her, and she would give us a thumbs up back.”
As the Red Raiders used two goalkeepers against their first ranked opponent of the season, head coach Tom Stone said he was impressed with the freshman’s play.
“They both played fantastic and it felt like it was the game where service was going to be important. It’s one of Madison (White’s) strengths,” Stone said. “Another thing Madison can do is she can fly. She may be young and a bit inexperienced, but she can get to the top corners and thankfully because the free-kick the kid took was going in on most keepers but not against Madison.”
When Zucchetto was taken out, White did not know her debut as a Red Raider would begin against USF. Stone said he knew White was ready despite her being unprepared.
“I was thinking, here’s a kid who was probably going to redshirt and is thinking about what she is doing later and her homework. She’s got season tickets on the bench to watch the game and then all of a sudden she goes in and win the biggest game of the year for us,” Stone said. “I’ll give her credit, she really didn’t flinch, didn’t blink, but she loves those moments. She’s got a lot of training ahead of her, there’s a lot to work on, but her natural instincts to get the ball are excellent so I think she thrived in that moment.”
White played a total of 69 minutes on the game and faced 14 total shots, according to Tech Athletics. She also saved seven attempted goals and only allowed one to get past her, helping the Red Raider defeat USF 2-1.
“She came on the field and she looked nervous, but I told her to just be Madison, so we told her to do her thing and we ended up winning because of her,” freshman Hannah Anderson said.
White will make her starting debut against Oklahoma State at 7 p.m. on Thursday with only one collegiate game of experience before facing a conference team.
Stone said White is known for flying and saving balls, therefore, he only gave her a short conversation before she got on the field.
“Maddie, this is your team now,” Stone said. “Zucchetto’s not coming back now. you go.”