SAN DIEGO – No. 22 Texas Tech rang in the new season with a 6-1 blowout win at San Diego State Thursday evening. The Red Raiders put it out of reach from the start, knocking in five in the first half – including the first score just three minutes after the opening whistle.
“Everything just went our way,” said head coach Tom Stone. “We know it’s not always going to be like that – we certainly wish it was – but we had it tonight. San Diego State is a lot better than the scoreboard shows, but once we had a rhythm and our offense got cranked up, we looked great.”
Captain Jayne Lydiatt was behind the opener, knocking in a short cross from Kirsten Davis in the third minutes. Hardly 15 minutes later, she picked up another after heading in a perfect cross from Gabbie Puente to quickly make it 2-0.
For the captain Lydiatt, two quick scores rids the team of any early season jitters and returns them right back to basics.
“An early lead gets us in such a rhythm,” Lydiatt said. “It’s almost like, ‘Ok, we’re just playing soccer again.’ They were goals that we practice, and that reminds us to trust in the process and training that we work on every day.”
Not to be left out, Davis took her turn netting two more scores in the 37thminute – 20 seconds apart – to make it 4-0.
The game nearly in blowout status with the first 45 winding down, Margaret Begley initiated Tech’s first set-piece goal of the season when she launched a beauty of a corner into the box. At the end of the serve was Demi Koulizakis, who rose above the Aztec keeper to head in her first of the season.
Begley’s assist came less than two minutes after checking in for the first time in two years. The senior captain’s appearance on the field was one that excited the entire Red Raider sideline after battling back from two consecutive ACL tears.
“This feeling is so rewarding,” Begley said. “After my first one, I thought I was going to get back there and it didn’t happen. I’ve waited a long time to get back, and it couldn’t be more rewarding.”
“Margaret has been the best teammate,” Lydiatt said of her fellow captain. “She’s been so patient. With two ACL tears, there is plenty of potential to be down on yourself. But Margaret has never once brought that with her to the field or locker room. For her to not only play but play so well, it’s amazing for every single one of us to witness.”
A monster first half in the books, Tech emptied its bench in the second 45, wherein every player except the backup keepers saw the pitch. All eight newcomers checked in, and one got on the board right away. After checking in for her collegiate debut, forward Marisa Weichel found a loose ball in the box and slotted it home on the first touch in a college game.
“I am so happy that everyone got to see the field tonight,” Lydiatt said of the newcomers she helps lead everyday. “They’ve been taking everything in since they’ve gotten here. Nobody believes they are entitled to playing time. They deserve it.”
Game two for the Red Raiders comes Sunday evening in Albuquerque, where Tech will take on New Mexico at 8 p.m. CT (7 p.m. MT). A stream will be available here, with live stats available here.