AMES, Iowa – Head coach Tom Stone earned his 150th win as a collegiate coach – all of which have come at the helm of the Red Raiders – Thursday night when No. 18 Texas Tech downed Iowa State in double overtime, 1-0.
“I’ve been blessed with great kids,” Stone said after the game. “Seriously, it’s all about the players. I’ve been so fortunate to have so many great players come to Texas Tech. That’s a cool number – guess it means I’ve been here for a while – but the most important thing is getting the win here tonight with this team.”
The win seemed as if it might have eluded Stone – and the top-20 Red Raiders – as Iowa State forced double overtime to hang on to what would be there biggest decision of the season so far. With two minutes standing between both squads leaving Ames with just one point, Sierra Jones stepped up as the unexpected hero. The freshman subbed on for a briefly-injured Demi Koulizakis and nailed the game-winner into the top corner, sending the team rushing the field in the 108th minute.
“She had no stretch and no warm-up and had been standing in the cold for an hour and a half,” Stone said of Jones when she was rushed into the game. “Half of our bench was crying [when she scored] because they love her so much.
“It’s an amazing moment for a sweetheart of a kid, but it’s important to remember it came because she was ready. Everyone on the bench had a choice: they can follow and stay engaged, or they can disengage. Sierra was ready when the moment came.”
Jones was in the game for three minutes before her golden strike.
“I was just ready for it,” Jones said. “My teammates were so supportive [when I subbed in]. After that happened and saw them running toward me, that was the greatest feeling knowing I could do that for them.”
The mobbing from her teammates came after the second straight weekend of playing at – or in Thursday’s case just under – 110 minutes of soccer. The team battled through a cold night in Ames to come away with a critical three points in their first road Big 12 game of the fall.
Seven points in hand, Tech will be tested next week by both their opponents and travel schedule; the Red Raiders will play at West Virginia on Thursday before flying home to play Kansas at 1 p.m.