Soccer team begins Big 12 conference play in Texas

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Freshman midfielder Christina Baxter prepares to kick the ball during the game against Central Arkansas on Sept. 8, 2017, in the K-State Soccer Stadium. (Photo by Nathan Jones | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State soccer team is set to open their first Big 12 season tonight at 7 p.m. in Lubbock, Texas — the home of the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Tonight marks the first ever meeting between the two teams. Last year, the Wildcats played just one Big 12 opponent — the Texas Longhorns — but it did not register as a Big 12 match. Therefore, the Texas Tech soccer match will be K-State’s first official conference matchup.

The Red Raiders are coming off a 3-0 victory over California State University, Northridge. They have also won five of their last six matches, and they will be heading into the K-State match with serious momentum. Through nine games, Texas Tech has posted a 7-2 record, tying them with West Virginia University for fourth place in the Big 12.

Unlike the Wildcats, Texas Tech’s head coach has plenty of Big 12 coaching experience. 2017 marks the 11th season at Texas Tech for Tom Stone. Stone has numerous accomplishments on his resume aside from simple experience.

Stone is the winningest soccer coach in Texas Tech history, with a record of 117-67-23. In the last five seasons, his Red Raiders have won 73 matches. No other coach had taken Texas Tech’s soccer team to the NCAA tournament until Coach Stone arrived; he has since taken the team to five appearances in a row.

For K-State, head coach Mike Dibbini will make his Big 12 debut. He isn’t new to the coaching scene, as he has had success at the NAIA and NCAA Division II levels. He led the Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes and the Cal Poly Pomona Broncos to a combined 13 postseason appearances. Prior to his job at K-State, Dibbini amassed a career record of 265-78-25.

In their previous match, the Wildcats defeated Colorado State in thrilling fashion. The team got its first ever overtime victory with a score of 3-2. The win pushed K-State to a 5-3-1 record for the season, leaving the Wildcats sitting at seventh place in the Big 12.

Texas Tech Stats

The Red Raiders have yet to lose a home match this year — they are 3-0 inside the John Walker Soccer Complex. Defensively, Texas Tech has been very stout. They have held their opponents to five goals in 86 attempts, allowing an average of just 0.56 goals per game.

Texas Tech is also a force to be reckoned with on the offensive end. They have netted 13 of their 136 attempted shots on goal, an average of 1.44 goals per game. The scoring leader for the Red Raiders is freshman forward Ally Griffin, who has accounted for eight points.

Kansas State Stats

The road record for the Wildcats in 2017 is 2-2-1. K-State has taken 69 shots on goal this season, so they will want to continue that aggression against a Texas Tech squad that has absorbed just 27 opponent on-goal shot attempts. In each of their five wins, K-State has shot at least 14 times. The Wildcat offense will look to freshman midfielder Brookelyn Entz for more stellar play. Entz leads the squad with seven points this season.

Kansas State will finish their tour of Texas with a visit to Fort Worth, battling Texas Christian University on Sunday. Tonight’s game can be heard on 101.5 KROCK and KStateSports.com.

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