Big 12 Campus Correspondent
On a warm night in Lubbock, Texas, freshman Janine Beckie anticipated her first match as a Division I athlete. Beckie and the crowd of 1,117 didn't have to wait long to erupt.
Fifty-seven seconds after the referee's whistle sounded the start to the 2012 season, Beckie scored her first goal.
"I didn't know if I was going to get there so I slid and it went in," Beckie said. "I can't even explain the feeling, it was so cool. The atmosphere was crazy, people were screaming, it was amazing. Coming out the first game of the season and scoring the first goal was something I'll never forget, but I hope there are many more of those to come."
Beckie has since improved to seven goals and two assists on the season while taking 55 total shots. She leads the Red Raiders in all three categories.
Scoring may not be new to the forward from Highlands Ranch, Colo., but Beckie said she has been enjoying her new experiences as a collegiate athlete.
"It's amazing being around this campus. It's so pretty, the people are so friendly, and there are always people everywhere," Beckie said. "It has been a very unique experience for me so far, and I can't wait to see what the next three years bring."
Beckie cites sixth-year head coach, Tom Stone, as one of her main reasons she chose to be a Red Raider. Beckie said Stone is as personable as he is knowledgeable about the game.
"He told me 'you're going to get better if you come here and you're going to have a huge impact on the team,' and I really believed that," Beckie said. "He is one of the best coaches in the country."
Stone has been impressed with the freshman forward's work ethic early in her college career. Stone said most players aren't used to practicing five times a week at such an intense level, but Beckie came in with a great pedigree and a willingness to work hard, which has led to her early success.
"For a player of her age, she was 17 for the first month of the season, she just has a really mature approach to playing forward," Stone said. "She's willing to take risks and go at people, and she really hates to lose. Her competitive juices on game day are as good or better than any freshman we have had here."
Beckie said having a group of talented and close-knit teammates has made the transition from high school to college even easier. Team chemistry is very important, and with the amount of time they spend together practicing, traveling and playing, Beckie said the Red Raiders have become a family.
"The girls are unbelievable," Beckie said. "We were here for three days and I felt like I was here for three years. The team is so welcoming, and they don't consider us freshmen. They just consider us part of the team."
Proven scorer and veteran forward Jessica Fuston has been an asset to Beckie on and off the field. Beckie said both their personalities and their playing styles work well together.
The duo has accounted for nearly half of the Tech's goals (11 of 23), and 72 of the team's 188 total shots.
"She is a player that I work off of," Beckie said. "She reads me well and I read her well. We just kind of click together. Even off the field, our personalities match up so well. She is one of my better friends on the team so I think that builds to our success on the field. Trusting that we will both do our jobs and get it done is what propels our success."
Fuston, a junior from Cedar Park, Texas, is excited to have Beckie up top by her side. Fuston said the two complement each other and understand how to play together, making them a dangerous combination.
"It's just nice having speed up top," Fuston said. "We haven't had that since I've been here. I have the control part, she has the speed, and we just connect."
Beckie has big ambitions for Texas Tech's 2012 squad. The young forward said the team is looking to make a big splash this year by making it to the postseason for the first time in school history.
To Beckie, the Red Raiders are talented and hungry enough to get there.
"We are hoping for a season where we can call ourselves champions," she said.