TCU Soccer began their run for the College Cup with a dominant 8-0 win over Prairie View A&M in the first round.
With a national seed and an 11-game unbeaten run coming into this contest, it’s safe to say the Frogs were confident about their chances. But did they expect to obliterate the Panthers in every way, shape, fashion, and form? Well, kind of.
“We knew that it was going to be a challenge for them, where we are with our talent level and where they are with their talent level. With all due respect to them we knew we were going to have the ball a lot,” said head coach Eric Bell.
Having the ball a lot is an understatement. The ball hardly left Prairie View’s side of the field for the entirety of the game. Lauren Kellett and Summer Holt, who split the time in goal playing one half each, were probably getting bored watching from the back.
Gracie Brian, Messiah Bright, and the rest of the TCU forwards on the other hand were having the time of their lives.
With eight goals on the scoresheet, bear with me as we get through who tallied what for the Horned Frogs.
First things first, Gracie Brian opened the scoring in the 8th minute off a fantastic feed from Brandi Peterson, both of whom went on to have incredible performances.
This was the start of something special for Gracie Brian as just over 15 minutes later the junior midfielder tallied a brace. Literally 38 seconds later, Oli Pena got on the board to extend the lead to 3-0 in the 25th minute.
That would put an end to the first half scoring, but the Frogs weren’t content with just a 3-0 lead.
Four minutes into the second half, Gracie Brian recorded her first hat trick of the season to put the Frogs up by four.
“She’s a hell of a player,” said Bell. “She creates opportunities for other people and is also able to finish a lot of goal-scoring opportunities for herself. She’s got qualities in both of those areas, a very good player and very good competitor. I’m happy for her.”
Brian wasn’t the only individual Frog to record a new accolade as less than ten minutes later, in the 57th minute, Messiah Bright set two program records with a single goal.
Bright’s team-high 14th goal of the season puts her at 36 all-time goals in a Horned Frogs uniform, tying the program record for most career goals. The goal also gave her 86 career points, good enough for 1st all-time at TCU.
Coach Bell had nothing but praise for the senior record-setter after tonight’s game:
“The game is slowing down for her [Bright],” said Bell. “She is able to do things at a really high level and make it look easy. I’m happy for her for breaking the record for most points, the goal-scoring stuff will come and she’ll just shatter them both and maybe put them out of reach for a while.”
From that point on, Lauren Memoly and Skylar Heinrich tallied one goal each to round out the Horned Frogs’ goal-scorers of the night. To add insult to injury, Prairie View A&M scored an own goal in the 82nd minute to reach our final score of 8-0.
Ignoring the sheer dominance from TCU in the attacking third, the Panthers keeper actually had a hell of a game. Sure, eight goals went in, but she also saved an astounding 13 shots; quality shots at that. I have to give credit where credit is due, Sierra Cota-Yarde played her heart out.
This was the first time since August of 2010 that TCU Soccer has recorded 40+ shots in a single game, and they made the most of every opportunity.
With that amount of chances on goal, mistakes are bound to happen, but it did seem like the Frogs were being called offside at a higher rate than usual. When asked about how to address this going forward, Coach Bell simply responded: “We’ll fix it.”
That’s a man with a plan right there, folks.
Outside of the offside calls, just about every other aspect of the Frogs’ gameplan and execution was flawless. Tonight was exactly what you want to see out of a first-round performance. Especially when you consider the fact that some big-name programs such as 2-seed UCLA, 4-seed Auburn, and Ole Miss have already seen a first-round exit.
Not every team can say they won by eight, and even more importantly not every team can say they got 20+ players NCAA tournament experience in a single game.
“Being able to play a lot of people a lot of different minutes was awesome, and they’ve earned it,” said Bell. “Some of these kids didn’t have a chance to play a lot during the regular season and have an opportunity right now to play them and show how good they are.”
The 4-seeded Frogs will continue their push for the College Cup with a second-round matchup against Princeton. The Tigers won their first-round matchup against Vermont 2-0.
The location of the game is still to be determined. If Rutgers loses to Bucknell tomorrow (fingers crossed), then TCU will serve as host for the next two rounds of games. If Rutgers win, the Frogs will travel to New Jersey for the next round as the Scarlett Knights will serve as host.
Regardless of where TCU is playing next, their second-round matchup against Princeton is scheduled for Friday, Nov 19. Kickoff time has yet to be announced.