LUBBOCK, Texas – A 2-2 draw forced No. 15 Texas Tech into a penalty shootout with Pepperdine Friday to determine whether its season continued. The Red Raiders stepped to the line and converted four of their five – enough for two dramatic stops by Madison White to clinch Tech’s seventh second round appearance in program history.
White, who tied a career-high in saves with 11 during regulation and overtime, was called upon for more heroics as the 2-2 game needed to be decided by penalties. She stopped two, one diving to her left and one jumping to her right, to win it.
Tech opened the shootout with a make from Charlotte Teeter. Pepperdine promptly answered, and a Tech miss off the cross bar put the Waves in the lead and kept them there through three rounds. It was here the Red Raiders pulled away, as a gutsy make right down the middle by Amanda Porter was followed by a save from White. Luana Munoz, who was on the sideline for the entirety of regulation before clocking in and playing all 20 minutes of overtime, converted hers to put the pressure on the Waves. It came down to Pepperdine’s Madi Cook, who assisted the visitors’ first goal. She tried for the high left corner, but a perfect read by White allowed her to rise up and punch the ball away, sending the team rushing the field.
For a freshman standing in net for her first round of penalties and the game on the line, White’s focus was not on the shooter, ball or anything else.
“The only thing in the back of my mind was the seniors,” she said after the game. “I knew that I had to save these so I could see them keep playing. I said, ‘We’re winning this, because there’s no way this is these seniors’ last game.’”
“She’s born under our motto: fearless,” Stone said. “Madi’s fearless. The bigger the game, the more excited she is.
A draw – which the game officially goes down as – would have been unexpected after the first 12 minutes of play. The Red Raiders were hot to start, quickly knocking in two. It started with the left foot of Penelope Mulenga, who, as she did in the K-State game on Halloween, won a ball outside the box and took the chance from deep. It was her second career score.
Just seven minutes later, Jordie Harr netted one left side on a free kick. The redshirt junior got the opportunity, which was just outside the 18-yard box as well, after Demi Koulizakis was taken down from behind. Harr’s goal was her third of the season.
Two scores seemed to wake up the Waves. They would answer in the 40th minute to cut the lead to one entering the half, then score not five minutes after the break to tie it. The Pepperdine defense clamped down on any attempts at offense by the Red Raiders, holding the hosts to zero shots for the entire second half while taking 11 themselves. Despite allowing one to find the back of the net, White showed why she was named the Big 12’s Freshman of the Year by tipping three would-be goals over the cross bar in the second 45. White has now made 11 saves on three occasions this season.
“When a young team in soccer is up 2-0 and gives up two, they could unravel,” said head coach Tom Stone. “We didn’t unravel today. We stayed true to it. We saw overtime as a chance to win it, and then we saw penalties as a chance to win it. I think the most impressive thing here was we stayed resolute.”
Stone continued, praising his team for its effort and emphasizing their deservedness of more soccer.
“This group is so young and they’ve done so well,” Stone concluded. “It’s been difficult to even consider saying goodbye to some of these seniors. The second round is more than appropriate for these ladies.”
After closing out the last home game of the season in sensational fashion, Tech will hit the road and head for Chapel Hill, N.C., for the Round of 32. The four-seed Red Raiders will face off with Michigan, who defeated Bowling Green Friday night, 2-1. First touch is TBD.