Make room in the trophy case!
TCU Soccer has swept conference titles for the first time in program history after winning the Big 12 tournament championship 2-1 against 2-seed Texas.
With this win, the Frogs have guaranteed a spot in the 2021 NCAA Championship Tournament and put themselves in contention for back-to-back national seeds.
The Frogs are in for sure, but their seeding will be decided later this afternoon on the NCAA selection show.
Despite being a 1-seed and favored to take home the hardware, the Frogs faced some adversity throughout the tournament. The first round found TCU in a penalty shootout with 8-seed Iowa State before a relatively dominant semi finals appearance against Texas Tech.
The toughest task of all ended up being the Longhorns, one of the only three teams TCU failed to secure a win against in the regular season.
The game got off to a hot start. Both teams were battling back and forth until momentum eventually shifted in the Longhorns favor late in the first half.
The final 10-15 minutes of the first half was intense for Lauren Kellett and the Frogs’ back line. Texas was buzzing in the attacking third and fired off four shots in a 10-minute period, one of which found the back of the net.
The Longhorns opened the scoring in the 39th minute with, as much as I hate to admit it, a banger of a goal from outside the 18-yard-box. This would be the start of a trend for Texas, who continued to fire away from distance.
Although Texas finished with more shots than the Horned Frogs in the game (18-14), TCU had more quality chances on goal.
“If that’s all we are going to give up, that’s awesome. We have the best goalkeeper in the league so if they want to shoot from distance, then have at it,” said Head Coach Eric Bell.
Kellett would go on to finish the game with six vital saves to keep the Horned Frogs comeback chances alive. Even though Texas entered the halftime break with the momentum, TCU came out hot in the second half.
The Frogs needed just 15 minutes to find the equalizer as who else but Messiah Bright scored in the 60th minute to tie things up. The equalizer was a fantastic team play from top to bottom. Grace Collins got things started with a feed to Chalyn Hubbard in the middle of the pitch who then picked out Bright on the wing to fire a shot off from a tough angle.
Bright now has a team high 13 goals scored this season, adding to her total of 35 all-time as a Horned Frog.
Considering TCU tied Texas 1-1 in their regular season meeting, neither team was content with the score remaining level. It was a dogfight, the Longhorns were playing physical but eventually the Frogs’ possession-first mindset seemed to wear them down.
TCU was patient, not forcing anything until finally in the 84th minute, with just 06:18 remaining on the clock; Camryn Lancaster scored the game winner.
It was another sensational team play. Grace Collins battled on the edge of the box to even get the cross off, and the freshmen forward was in great position to receive the pass and slot it past the keeper from close range.
Coach Bell gave his thoughts post game on the Frogs second half performance: “I think we followed the game plan a little bit better. We wanted to go outside a bit more. They did a good job of clogging up the middle and we wanted to go around them. I thought we did a really good job of that.”
A come from behind win was a poetic way to cap off the Horned Frogs regular season. The win extends their unbeaten run to 11 games now, tying a program record set just last season.
On an individual level, Grace Collins also etched her name in the anals of TCU Soccer history. The junior forward notched her 10th and 11th assists of the season against UT, which breaks Yazmeen Ryan’s 2019 school record for single season assists.
Plenty of other Horned Frogs earned some much deserved recognition for their performances this past week as well. Of the twelve players named to the Big 12 Soccer All Tournament Team, TCU claimed six spots.
Lauren Kellett (GK), Brandi Peterson (D), Jenna Winebrenner (D), Gracie Brian (MF), Messiah Bright (F), and Camryn Lancaster (F) were all selected for the all-tournament team, the most of any single team in the conference.
⚽️ 2021 #Big12SOC Championship All-Tournament Team Announced— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) November 8, 2021
TCU led the selections with six members, followed by Texas with five honorees and West Virginia taking the final spot.
With two championship trophies in hand now, the Horned Frogs have nothing to do but wait and see where the NCAA selection committee will slot them for the championship tournament. I’ll be posting an article with the Frogs matchup and reaction to the selection show shortly following the announcement.