LUBBOCK, Texas – In front of a record-breaking crowd (2346), and on the backs of two big moments from Peyton Parsons and Madison White, the second-seeded Texas Tech soccer team downed the Princeton Tigers, 4-3 on penalty kicks to advance to Sunday’s Third Round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament.
After battling tooth-and-nail over the first 110 minutes of play, it all came down to PKs for Texas Tech (16-1-5), as the Red Raiders and Tigers (10-5-4) each sent five players to spot in a scoreless game.
The teams traded body blows, as the first three scorers for each side found the back of the net.
After the teams each missed on their fourth attempts of the night, Princeton’s Aria Nagia stepped to the spot and ripped an attempt that White was able to kick-save away from the back of the net.
With the chance to win the game and send the Red Raiders to the Round of 16, Parsons roofed a perfect shot that Tyler McCamey was unable to save before it bounded into the net.
McCamey made a pair of saves in game action and one save during penalty kicks in the setback.
What started as a physical affair turned into a war of attrition towards the end of the match, as Tech warded off 16 Princeton shots and White made a season-high six saves in her 13th clean sheet of the season and 39th all-time.
The goalkeeper now has 10 more shutouts than any player in program history.
Tech had the best chance of the opening 45 minutes of Friday’s match, as a beautiful run from Gisselle Kozarski and a perfect cross from Kylie Bahr fell to Ashleigh Williams.
The forward trapped the ball and flicked a right-footed shot the narrowly missed the cross bar and the top-left corner of the net.
Following the halftime break, it was Princeton’s turn to nearly score the ever important first goal, as Pietra Tordin dispossessed a Red Raider defender inside the Red Raider 18-yard box.
Tordin found herself one-versus-one with White, who quickly charged and forced Tordin to rip the ball just wide of the vacated net.
The chance for Princeton was the best opportunity for either side to score until 17 seconds into in the 89th minute when Hannah Anderson nearly sent the Red Raiders home victorious in regulation.
Off a perfect corner kick service from Sam Courtwright, Anderson directed one of her patented headers perfectly into the lower-left corner of the net. With just a defender to beat, Anderson’s header was cleared off the goal line by Madison Curry.
Despite the three strong scoring chances, the Tigers and Red Raiders ended regulation scoreless.
After neither side really had a strong chance in the first 10 minutes of the extra session, it was the Red Raiders that again had the strongest scoring chance in the second overtime, as a dangerous cross narrowly missed a pair of Tech attackers and fell for a goal kick.
With neither side able to dent the scoreboard, the match headed to penalty kicks, where Tech used goals from Courtwright, Jillian Martinez, Alex Kerr and Parsons to advance to the Round of 16 for just the second time in program, history.
HEAD COACH TOM STONE:
“I would be remiss if I didn’t mention what a quality team Princeton is, and how well they played tonight. You really had two teams that really wanted it really badly and both had tremendous moments. And if it wasn’t for this on right here (Madison White) they might have scored a couple. I thought their keeper did really well, they blocked shots and we blocked shots. This was not a game that one team dominated, although each team had their moments where they were dominating. Tip of the hat to Princeton, they played awesome. It was a huge crowd with an unbelievable environment that we got to play in tonight, that must have been difficult, but they handled it really well. They’re a fabulous team, great job to Sean and that crew. As far as the environment goes, that’s one of the most electric nights we’ve had here. Nick and I remember Pepperdine, winning in penalties late. That didn’t equal this level of ferociousness from the fans and the loud cheering and singing with the fans wrapped around the fence, truly Lubbock and Texas Tech came out for us tonight and we are super thankful for it. The team was resilient; the team was gutsy; the team showed some character. When it came to penalties, we knew who our five were for quite a while. And I will tell you with Peyton, it’s rare that you pick a sophomore to go fifth. She’s just tough as nails, nothing bothers her. She’s grown up here as a player and gets better everyday. The one thing you know about Peyton is she’s not rattled and that’s why she was fifth. They say to put your best fourth, we though Ashleigh would be great going fourth but I guess after 14 goals in the season we’ll give her some grace for missing a penalty. And because Maddie made that fantastic kick save, Peyton was then able to put it away for us. It means a lot for us to advance, we are thrilled to be in the next round and quite thrilled to play such a historic team like Carolina and we get to do it at home. It was a great night for Red Raider Soccer and Red Raider Nation.”
With victory tonight, Texas Tech advances to the Round of 16 of the 2023 NCAA Tournament where the Tar Heels of North Carolina await on Sunday. First-kick from the John Walker Soccer Complex is set for 1 p.m.
Release provided by Andrew Stern Texas Tech Athletics