The TCU Soccer team has climbed to No. 4 in the United Soccer Coaches poll and earned an abundance of accolades after an undefeated weekend in Kansas.
Grace Collins and Tijana Duricek were named the Big 12 offensive and defensive player of the week after both scored game winning goals over the weekend. On top of that, Collins was named the College Soccer News’ National Player of the Week.
More honors for Grace! She's been named the College Soccer News' National Player of the Week! #GoFrogs pic.twitter.com/yWpHjOSZUb— TCU Soccer (@TCUSoccer) October 27, 2020
Duricek and Collins join Brandi Peterson (Defensive Player of the Week, Oct. 12), Marz Akins (Freshman of the Week, Sept. 14) and Emily Alvarado (Goalkeeper of the Week, Sept. 22) as TCU’s honorees this season. Alvarado was also named the National Player of the Week on Sept. 22, while Peterson was selected as the National Player of the Week on Oct. 12.
TCU began a three-game road trip with two conference matchups against No. 8 Kansas and Kansas State, leaving with two huge wins.
The first game against the 8th ranked Jayhawks took place on Friday, Oct. 22. Needless to say, the Horned Frogs took care of business at Rock Chalk Park with a 2-0 clean sheet victory.
The first half was all TCU, dominating possession in the attacking third and tallying 10 shots compared to the Jayhawks 3. Senior defender Tijana Duricek scored her first goal of the season and third of her career to put the Frogs on the board in the 25th minute, coming off of a corner kick.
It was an interesting goal as Kansas defenders were scrambling to clear the ball and it bounced around until it found a perfect path towards Duricek’s foot.
“We were able to score on a set piece, but what I liked most about it is we battled to keep the ball in the box. Tijana (Duricek) was in the right place at the right time,” said Head Coach Eric Bell.
Things were a little different in the second half thanks to Kansas adjusting their tactics and formation at halftime, as one would expect a top-10 team to do, but the Horned Frogs defense held strong.
After recording 0 saves in the first half, TCU goalkeeper Emily Alvarado was busy in the second having to make 4 saves to maintain the Frogs 5th shutout of the year.
Kansas out shot TCU 13-3 in the second half.
Emily Alvarado has now tied the school record for career shutouts, joining Vittoria Arnold (2012-14) and Maribeth Forrest (1987-90) atop of the leaderboard.
Even though the Frogs were dealing with an abundance of shots from Kansas, they managed to find a second goal about 10 minutes into the second half, coming from a 25-yard banger scored by Yazmeen Ryan and assisted by Gracie Brian.
With her 3rd goal this year, and 19th of her career, Ryan is now 8th in program history for goals scored.
Highlights from another Top-10 road win #GoFrog pic.twitter.com/clR3In0VvI— TCU Soccer (@TCUSoccer) October 23, 2020
The Horned Frogs then got back on the bus to head over to Manhattan to play the Kansas State Wildcats. One would have thought the Wildcats would be less of a challenge for the Frogs compared to No. 8 Kansas, but it ended up being a two-goal comeback thriller to top off the unbeaten weekend.
Things were looking grim for TCU in the first half, going down 2-0 after just 25 minutes — their largest deficit all season.
This marks the first time TCU has allowed two first-half goals since Sept. 15, 2019, when they faced the Washington Huskies at home.
If you’ve been keeping up with TCU soccer this season, then you know overcoming adversity is nothing new for these girls. The Frogs came out strong in the second half, scoring a goal in the first two minutes to get back in the game.
The Frogs opening goal was scored by Gracie Brian and assisted by Grace Collins, marking the pairs 1st goal and 2nd assist of the year.
It was a bit of a stressful next half hour, but eventually the Horned Frogs pressure payed off and first-year midfielder Olivia Hasler scored arguably the goal of the season thus far to send the game into overtime. Her first goal in a TCU uniform was truly a beauty, and the people over at Sportscenter thought so as well:
Did you catch @oliviahasler18's goal on #SCTop10 last night?? #GoFrogs pic.twitter.com/dYIcZW3MdI— TCU Soccer (@TCUSoccer) October 26, 2020
Talk about a momentum boost. TCU went on to win the game 3-2 after only three minutes of overtime thanks to a Grace Collins goal, her 3rd of the season.
TCU now has two come-from-behind wins in overtime this season to maintain an unbeaten 6-0-1 record.
“We are really proud of the group for handling everything 2020 has thrown at them,” said Bell. “They’ve just said bring it on, they are very focused on doing something that has never been done at TCU – winning a conference championship.”
The Horned Frogs wrap up their three-game road trip this Friday, Oct. 30 against a winless Oklahoma. They finish the season off with a home match vs West Virginia on Nov. 6.