They did it! Big 12 champions!
The TCU Soccer team has finished the season with an 8-0-1 undefeated record, beating #4 West Virginia 1-0 in their final game of the year to be crowned Big 12 champs.
“It’s a big step for our program and I am really proud of our group,” said Head Coach Eric Bell. “To be able to do it against West Virginia, who has been the perennial power since we’ve been in the league, I don’t think I would have had it any other way.”
The game got off to a slow start, potentially a bit of nerves from each team considering the game had such large implications, but after about 10 minutes the Horned Frogs got things going offensively.
TCU didn’t get many shots off throughout the game, but of the shots they had they made sure to make them count. The Frogs had four shots on target on four total shots to give them 100% shot accuracy on the night. West Virginia on the other hand had 12 total shots on the night, but only three were on target.
All three of the Mountaineers shots on goal were saved by Emily Alvarado, including a beautiful diving stop to keep things level in the first half. This marks TCU’s 7th shutout of the year after playing only 9 games and Alvarado’s 20th career shutout in a Horned Frogs uniform.
“I can’t think of another team that deserved this more than mine, just the dedication and passion these girls showed everyday made my job easier and made it easier to give my all to this program,” said senior goalkeeper Emily Alvarado.
TCU controlled the pace of the game throughout the majority of the first half, and their constant pressure on the Mountaineer back line eventually payed off early in the second half. Grace Collins scored her 5th goal of the season, and 3rd game winner to put the Horned Frogs up 1-0. It was a sensational effort from the sophomore, a goal I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw on Sportscenter Top 10 in the next few days.
“I practiced that run yesterday, so when I got down there on my left foot all I could think was ‘oh my gosh this is literally the same thing I did yesterday’,” said Grace Collins. “It was just so awesome to get to make a goal like that.”
Considering Yazmeen Ryan missed this game due to injury, some of the players were playing a slightly different role than they would normally. For Collins, she stepped up big time in Ryan’s absence being involved in nearly every chance on goal for the Frogs against West Virginia.
“She [Collins] played with an edge about herself which contributed to her personal success but ultimately our success as well,” said Bell.
At the beginning of the year, the players and coaches were all in agreement that the Big 12 title was in reach, and after overcoming various forms of adversity this group has accomplished their goal.
“When I saw the clock hit 5:00 I thought to myself ‘we’re gonna win this’ and watching it count down I was just speechless,” said Collins.
This marks TCU’s first conference title since joining the Big 12 in 2012. We will have to wait until Spring to see the Horned Frogs back in action again, assuming COVID-19 protocols and the NCAA permits it.