IRVING, Texas — Texas Tech soccer received a ranking of fifth in the Big 12’s preseason poll Thursday. West Virginia was voted by the conference’s coaches as the favorite to take the regular season title, receiving four of the 10 first-place votes.
The Red Raiders, who Tuesday were ranked No. 22 in the United Soccer Coaches national poll, are no strangers to upending preseason rankings. Just last season, Tech took its sixth-place preseason pick and turned it into a third-place finish in the regular season and a semi-final appearance in the conference tournament. Overall, the 2018 campaign resulted in 14 wins for Tech – the most since capturing the program’s first Big 12 Championship in 2015. The team won five conference games and knocked off a program-record four ranked opponents en route to finding itself ranked at No. 24 come season’s end.
The Red Raiders are set to return the two team leaders in goals, assist, points and shots. Kirsten Davis leads the way up top for Tech, coming back for her junior season. The Second Team All-Midwest Region racked up 21 points in 2018 — good for fourth in the conference last season and second among players returning this fall. Davis netted seven goals to go with seven more assists while leading the team in shots with 68. Jade King, the other forward that will start up top, ripped 63. Nearly half of those — 30 to be exact — were on net for the second-most in the conference and most among returning players. Eight found the back of the net.
A total of ten new Red Raiders made their way to Lubbock in 2019, making for one of Tech’s largest signing classes in recent memory. It is a diverse one, too, comprised of six high school signees — two of which enrolled early — in addition to two youth internationals and two transfers. Hannah Anderson (Frisco, Texas) and Macy Schultz (Timnath, Colo.) arrived on campus in January and played in the spring. They were joined in their high school signing class by: Haley Smith (Flower Mound, Texas), Marisa Weichel (Papillion, Neb.), Madison White (Rockwell, Texas) and Taya Lopez (Las Cruces, N.M.). Two youth internationals will grab their passports and come to the States: Nicole Mettam (New Zealand) and Penelope Mulenga (Canada). The collegiate experience comes from Luana Munoz (Tyler JC) and Amanda Porter (Arizona).
Tech’s 2019 campaign will begin as usual with an exhibition trip to Denver, which is set for Aug. 17. The Red Raiders will turn around and hit the road the following week for a two-game trip to San Diego State (Aug. 22) and New Mexico (Aug. 25). Tech fans’ first chance to see the squad in action at home will be Aug. 30 when the Red Raiders return for a Friday night showdown with Oral Roberts.