The women’s soccer team took on its first ever nationally ranked opponent Sunday night, as the Wildcats faced the seventh ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders in Lubbock. The outcome was less to be desired, as ACU dropped the match 2-0 and fell to 3-5 on the year.
“Honestly, playing a nationally ranked Div. I team was really fun,” senior Katie Stivers said. “It was a great competitive game, and it’s cool to get to watch them play. I think we not only learned from our mistakes that game but also learned something from the way that they played. I would prefer to play a team that really challenges us any day.”
The Wildcats held the Red Raiders going into halftime, keeping the game scoreless. Sophomore goalkeeper Kelsey Dombrowski recorded three saves in the first half and a strong defensive presence kept the visiting ‘Cats in the game.
“First half against Tech was the best our team has done all season,” senior Sarah Schoch said. “Tech’s an awesome team and we came out and were able to compete with them, we may have lost but it was a huge learning opportunity for us.”
The Red Raiders wasted no time after halftime, breaking the tie on a goal in the 45th minute. The Wildcats kept Texas Tech at bay for the next 20 minutes but were unable to get its own offense going. The Raiders would outshoot ACU, 18-2 for the game, and its offensive attack would lead Texas Tech to another score. In the 64th minute, the Wildcats would give up another goal, pushing its deficit to 2-0.
“I thought the team played with a lot of heart and gave a great effort,” Stivers said. “We defended quite well for the most part, we just didn’t have many opportunities to finish.”
The Wildcats will now look to conference play, with the Southland Conference schedule beginning with a trip to Huntsville for a matchup against the Sam Houston Bearkats. Currently, Abilene Christian is exactly in the middle of the league as the sixth of twelve teams in shots per game (12.62) and goals made per game (1.38). The Wildcats do lead the conference in total saves this season with 50; Lamar is second with 46.
“Although our record is a losing one so far, we played some pretty difficult teams,” Stivers said. “I’m glad that we played those types of teams so that we are ready for the pace and intensity going into conference. I really think this team has the potential to do great this season.”