TCU Soccer got back to their winning ways this afternoon with a 3-1 win over the Houston Cougars to close out the non-conference portion of their schedule.
Big 12 opponent or not, this was a big win for the Frogs. After a program-best 7-0 start to the season, TCU had gone 1-2-1 in the four games before today’s matchup, so it’s nice to be back in the win column.
TCU finished their non-conference schedule with notable wins over Texas A&M, Pittsburgh, and Ohio State and only one blemish: a 1-0 loss to then No. 9 Pepperdine.
“We wanted to be exposed and tested and I think we got both of those things. The non-conference portion of the season has definitely gotten us ready for the conference season,” said Head Coach Eric Bell.
It was a slow and relatively even first half at Garvey-Rosenthal Stadium, but the Frogs played cool, calm, and collected until the scoring opened up in the second half.
There were a few chances on goal here and there, but it wasn’t until the 58th minute that Gracie Brian would find the back of the net to get the offense rolling.
The opening goal was a sensational team play. Brandi Peterson fed Messiah Bright out on the wing, who then showcased some fancy footwork to escape past a defender and find Gracie Brian with plenty of space for the shot. Brian had plenty of time to line up her shot and picked out the top right corner for her first goal of the day.
Put this play in the louvre.
After the first goal, there was a visible change of confidence on the field; the Frogs were fired up. Just seven minutes later, Gracie Brian would find the back of the net again after a wild sequence full of headers and deflections.
Grace Collins crossed it into the box which then bounced off the Houston keeper’s hands, then to a Gracie Brian, then off a defender’s body, then back to Brian who was somehow able to get a shot off for the goal. In other words: Chaos.
This was Gracie Brian’s second multi-goal game of the 2021 season and the fourth of her career.
It’s truly a beautiful thing when the Horned Frogs are able to string passes together and let their incredibly deep line of forwards do their thing in the attacking third. The second half of today’s ballgame was a perfect example of the Frogs playing in rhythm.
The Frogs made an effort to stretch the field and maintain possession with slow, methodical passes. Maybe I’m crazy, but the Frogs seemed to play it out of the back a lot more than normal today which seemed to work out swimmingly. Kellett, Hubbard, and Peterson worked extremely well together to set the tempo of each possession and also limit any crucial mistakes.
After two goals, the Frogs weren’t done yet. In the 82nd minute, Camryn Lancaster tallied her fifth goal of the season with a rocket of a shot.
Messiah Bright got the play started by wreaking havoc in the box and drawing three Houston defenders to collapse on her, and Lancaster was at the right place at the right time to jump on the Cougar’s clearance attempt and put one away.
Despite an all-around solid performance defensively from the back line and goalkeeper Lauren Kellett, Houston was able to avoid the shutout with a late goal in the 86th minute off a free kick.
1-0, 7-2, 3-1, it doesn’t matter what the score is; the Frogs are heading into conference play as winners.
“I’m happy with the response to the last game,” said Bell. “I’m happy to come out, get some goals on the board and win a game against a worthy opponent in Houston. They did a really good job and it was hard for us so I’m happy to see us come away with a positive result.”
This was just the first game of another three-game homestead for the Frogs as they’ll dive back into Big 12 play with a match against Oklahoma this Thursday. Kickoff is set for 7 pm at Garvey-Rosenthal Stadium and the game will be broadcasted on Big 12 Now on ESPN+