Texas Tech soccer coach Tom Stone says Sunday matches are rarely pretty.
The Red Raiders sorely needed Sunday’s match against Toledo to be the exception to that rule, coming less than 48 hours after a Hofstra penalty kick in overtime cost Tech a 2-1 loss in the opener of the Red Raider Classic.
Junior forward Dawn Ward quickly erased that memory, scoring twice and tallying an assist in Tech’s 3-0 victory against the Rockets at the John Walker Soccer Complex.
“The great goal scorers say it happens slow when they score,” Stone said, “and I think it looked like it was happening in slow motion for (Ward) today.”
The first goal came during the 29th minute. Freshman midfielder Erin Inman blasted a through ball to Ward, who stayed onside and burst ahead of the last Toledo defender.
Goalkeeper Vicki Traven came off her line to stop Ward, but the Midland native poked a slow roller that found its way into the back of the net.
“I thought, ‘If I overhit this, I’m going to miss the goal,’ ” Ward said. “That’s why it was a slow roller. I was trying not to overhit it.”
She had a chance to show off a few more skills during the 41st minute, when she netted her second goal.
Ward was facing away from the net and appeared to be off balance when she hit a forceful strike with her left foot that arched into the goal.
“She’s got great agility,” Stone said. “She was able to turn and get to it and she’s predominantly a right-footed player but she’s good with both feet.
“Dawn is smooth, and when she’s at her best she’s hard to handle.”
Stone said Inman, who’d had her best game of the season in Friday’s loss, one-upped that performance Sunday. The freshman from Austin came off the bench to record her assist and played 51 minutes.
Toledo (2-3-1) took only four shots, and none of them caused Tech goalkeepers Victoria Esson and Alexis Braziel to make a save.
Junior midfielder Sarah Ellison scored the final goal, receiving a cross from Ward and using her body to knock the ball into the open net.
“That was about as business-like a performance as we’ve had on a Sunday in while,” Stone said. “I’m so impressed with the psychological makeup of this group.”
TCU won the Red Raider Classic with victories against Toledo and Hofstra. The Red Raiders will get a shot at the Horned Frogs on Oct. 9 in Fort Worth.
Ward, Taylor Lytle and Jaelene Hinkle represented Tech on the all-tournament team.
TCU swept the MVP honors: Jordan Calhoun was the offensive MVP, Katie Taylor earned defensive MVP, and Alicen Wright was named the goalkeeper MVP.
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