Texas Tech’s Tom Stone called the 2012 soccer season a “story book” year for his seniors.
Stone’s first full recruiting class leaves having won more games than any other class, including a program-record 16 this year, culminating with a second-round finish in the NCAA Championships.
Now, it’s a new class’ turn to write its own story,
“(It’s great) for our freshmen now to have been a part of that,” Stone said, “be able to tell this story for the next four years of their career while we push for hopefully better things.”
Tech is losing five seniors from this year’s class, returning more than 20 letter winners.
Led by second-team All-American Janine Beckie, the Red Raiders look to continue their climb into the national soccer picture.
Beckie, who led Tech with 14 goals, said she started looking at the next season immediately after the Red Raiders lost in double-overtime to eventual national semifinalist Florida State.
“We had an unbelievable season,” Beckie said, “and our seniors are incredible and will be highly missed, but we have to look forward to next season and doing even bigger things.”
Beckie ranked fifth nationally in goals per game for all freshmen, but said she already has discussed some of her weaknesses with Stone that can be improved upon in the offseason.
Sophomore defender Jaelene Hinkle, a key force on the Red Raiders’ back line the last two years, said she took some time to reflect on the season’s accomplishments before looking ahead.
However, once she took everything in, Hinkle said the whole team realized what the future holds.
“We can definitely go a lot further than what we did this year,” Hinkle said.
The Red Raiders had their most successful season scoring goals in more than a decade, while maintaining their strong defensive reputation.
Hinkle said a strong lineup from top to bottom — the depth of which Stone has lauded all season — paid dividends this season.
Furthermore, each player already possesses the necessary leadership to keep improving, Hinkle said, making it easier to handle the loss of a strong senior class.
“I feel like the whole team,” Hinkle said, “when we’re together, there’s not just one leader. Everyone steps up.”
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