Soccer seeks rebound at Tech

Tj Rushing

On paper, this weekend’s matchups look favorable for the ISU soccer team.

Friday, the Cyclones (6-2-3, 2-1-1) will take on the Red Raiders of Texas Tech (3-6-2, 1-3-0) in Lubbock, Texas – a team they have an all-time record of 10-1 against. In fact, the Red Raiders haven’t beaten the Cyclones since the inaugural season of the Big 12 and ISU women’s soccer – 1996.

Coach Rebecca Hornbacher tends to throw numbers and figures out the window, and is not planning on the wins to come easily.

“Texas Tech is a very good team and have some good results this year,” she said. “They will be one of the most physically imposing teams that we have played. It will be a battle.”

Taking a look at the rosters, Hornbacher is right. Of the 21 players on the Texas Tech roster, eight of them are 5-foot-9 or taller; the Cyclones claim only four girls of the same stature and they have 24 players on the roster.

The Red Raiders will be the first of two opponents this weekend for the team. Sunday they will return home for a nonconference bout with Western Illinois (10-1-2). In the one previous matchup between the two teams in 1997, the Cyclones dominated 8-0. As WIU’s record indicates, things may be a bit more competitive this time around.

WIU just so happened to play Iowa in an exhibition game this season, battling them to a 0-0 double-overtime tie. Ironically, the Cyclones also battled the Hawkeyes to a 0-0 tie in double overtime.

Getting a chance to take a break from the grueling Big 12 schedule is welcomed by the team, but it will not be a meaningless game.

“Having a nonconference team in our schedule is beneficial because it keeps us on our toes,” senior captain Erin Witte said. “We already have an idea of how the teams play in the Big 12, so it will be nice to see how we adjust to the different style of play.”

The Cyclones are currently in the midst of their longest winless streak of the season, which isn’t bad considering it’s only been two games. Hornbacher said they had a good week of practice and are ready to get back to their record-breaking pace of victories. With seven games remaining, the Cyclones are already halfway to their all-time record for wins in a season. The 1997 team went 12-9.

“The team has been very focused on improving on certain aspects of the game in which we need to be better,” Hornbacher said. “They have done a great job and are showing great improvements in a short time.”

The team will play in Lubbock at 7 p.m. Friday before playing a 1 p.m. game at the ISU Soccer Complex on Sunday.