LUBBOCK, Texas – The red-hot Texas Tech Red Raiders continued to roll on Thursday night, dominating previously unbeaten North Texas, 6-1 Thursday night at the John Walker Soccer Complex.
Led by the first career hat trick from transfer Alex Kerr and a two goal and two assist performance from Ashleigh Williams, the unbeaten Red Raiders (4-0-1) continued their winning ways on the five match homestand.
Through four of the five matches of the homestand, Tech has now outscored its opponents 18-2 with just one match on Sunday remaining against Abilene Christian.
On the night, Tech outshot the powerful UNT (4-1) side, 22-6 including 17-0 in the first half. Heading into Thursday’s match, UNT had conceded one goal, outscoring opponents 13-1 through four matches.
As has become a staple for this years Red Raider team, Thursday night featured a flurry of early goals.
Williams started the scoring barrage for Tech midway through the 11th minute when she won a foot race and slipped a perfect ball to Gisselle Kozarski. The senior ith her powerful left foot drove a ball to Kerr.
Like the seasoned goal scorer she is, Kerr adeptly turned and in one motion slipped the ball past UNTs keeper Maddie Ogden for the first goal of the night.
Entering the night inside the top-30 of the country in save percentage, Ogden allowed six goals in just under 69 minutes of action before being pulled from the contest.
Just under two minutes later it was Williams’ turn to score, as the forward and freshman Sam Courtwright played a perfect one-two game with eachother.
Streaking up the field, Williams slotted a pass to Courtwright, who returned the ball back for Williams with a perfect little flick. The striker took the perfect chip and deposited the ball into the back of the night for the first of two goals on the night.
Less than five minutes from the original goal that put Tech up front, Williams quickly gave the homeside a 3-0 lead when she buried her ninth goal of the season.
The combination on the third goal was similar to the first two, as Kozarski swung a wide pass to Courtwright.
Armed with the ball, the freshman went to work, putting a pair of dazzling moves on the UNT backline. The nifty footwork freed the Dallas native up, allowing her to hook a beautiful back post ball that connected with Williams’ head.
Tech completed its first half scoring outburst just seven minutes later when Kerr scored her second goal of the night on a perfect feed from Williams.
Straddling the midfield line, Williams threaded a perfect ball through the UNT line that found a wide-open Kerr, who outraced the Mean Green backline for her fifth goal of the season.
The helper completed the unreal first half for the Allen native, as she scored twice and dished out two helpers.
The four goals in less than 12 minute spurt, gave Tech a commanding 4-0 lead at the break.
Like any good team would, UNT quickly responded in the second half, when Summer Brown slipped past the Tech backline for her fourth goal of the season just one minute and 49 seconds into the half.
Just over a minute later, UNT again posed a dangerous threat, when Jenna Sheely slipped through the Red Raider backline, but goalie Madison White was able to dive and push Sheely’s attempt past the cage.
White was strong once again for the Red Raiders in goal, recording three saves in her 34th career victory.
Feeling the momentum shifting toward the visitors, Tech quickly responded in the 55th minute when sophomore Macy Blackburn made a beautiful a run deep into UNTs third.
The defender ripped a perfect pass toward a streaking Kerr, who was dragged down in the box by Ogden. The foul awarded Tech its second PK of the season.
Much like backline mate Hannah Anderson did against NM State, Blackburn calmly delivered the fifth goal of the night, ripping a ball into the lower corner of the net.
Tech put the icing on the cake just 13 minutes later when Blackburn again set up a goal. After receiving a perfect pass from Taylor Zdrojewski, Blackburn ripped a shot that Odgen punched away.
The rebound fell right to Kerr at the doorstep, allowing the transfer to record her third goal of the night and sixth goal of the season.
With the hat trick, the first of her career, Kerr has now equaled her goal total from a season ago at Vanderbilt in just five matches.
Tech’s 6-1 victory over UNT was the Mean Green’s largest margin of defeat since 2007 while Tech’s six goals scored as the most UNT has allowed in a match since No. 9 Texas A&M hung eight goals in an 8-2 win back in 2004.
Entering the match tied for the nation’s lead in assists, Tech recorded eight on five run-of-play goals, bringing their total to 26 through just five matches. Tech has now outscored its opponents 19-3 through the season’s first five matches.
HC TOM STONE:
ON ALEX KERRs IMPACT:
“The portal did its thing and Alex Kerr’s name popped up on there, so we jumped in with both feet. We had to fight off half of the SEC because she’d been scoring on them. All these SEC teams wanted her and we were like no, come to Texas, an experience of a lifetime. We’re so thankful that she did because you need numbers, you need girls who can put the ball in the back of the net, and when you’ve got a 22-year-old fifth year who knows how to score, man that’s fun to watch. I’m happy for Alex. Look, Alex was underutilized, I think, and every time I watched her on TV she was scoring goals against SEC teams. She played seven or eight hundred minutes last year and only scored seven goals and that’s a tremendous ratio. Most people play 1200 or 1300 minutes, and she’s going to get those numbers here. So now we’re just turning her loose and building her confidence and celebrating her. We’re just so happy for her. The kid is just enjoying the game and playing with a smile on her face. We talk about respect the past, invent the future, Alex is very respectful of the culture that we have that she has stepped into, she’s not a rock the boat player, she’s a winner. She wants to do everything her fifth-year senior year and we’re hoping we can help her get that.
On Courtwright’s assists:
“Her two passes were insane, they were literally of the highest level a college kid can pass the ball, those two assists. They were special, and if you’re a forward you’re drooling to get on the other end of a pass from Sam, if you make a good run, she’s going to reward you. [Macy] Blackburn is capable of that, we’ve seen Kylie [Bahr] and Elise [Anderson] do that, they’re outside backs, but Sam’s two were special, they were really special. I’m not overblowing it, that’s how good they were. And she’s only a 18 year old freshman so that’s pretty exciting too.”
The Red Raiders will close the six-match homestand on Sunday afternoon against ACU. First kick from the John Walker Soccer Complex is set for 1 p.m.
Release provided by Andrew Stern Texas Tech Athletics