The No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs took care of business tonight with a dominant 4-0 performance against No. 15 Oklahoma State, earning their 9th shutout victory in only 11 games this season.
Considering the Cowgirls were the highest ranked opponent on the Frogs’ remaining schedule entering tonight, this was a highly anticipated matchup with major NCAA tournament seeding implications.
TCU already has an automatic bid into the tournament thanks to their conference-championship run in the fall, but now the Frogs have made a serious case for a No. 1 seed. With the win tonight, TCU are now 4-0 against top-25 opponents with an aggregate score of 9-1.
The last time these teams met back in the fall, the Horned Frogs snuck away with a 2-1 overtime victory thanks to Brandi Peterson’s game-winning goal 15 seconds into OT. This was one of the Frogs’ toughest matchups in the fall portion of the season, so it’s safe to say no one was expecting the blowout we witnessed tonight.
The back-line was an impenetrable brick wall, the midfielders were making key passes into the attacking third, and the forwards were taking advantage of every opportunity the Cowgirls defense gave them — everything was clicking for the Horned Frogs tonight.
TCU was keeping the pressure on from the get go. Oklahoma State didn’t have a single shot, let alone a shot on goal, until after the half-hour mark in the first half.
By keeping constant pressure in the attacking third and making use of the entire width of the field, TCU was able to rack up an abundance of set pieces in the first half, which inevitably led to the Frogs’ first goal.
In the 18th minute, Olivia Hasler headed in her second goal of the season to open the scoring for the Frogs. The goal came from a set piece taken by Yazmeen Ryan which was then redirected by Gracie Brian to eventually find Hasler inside the 6-yard box.
GOOOOOAAAALLLL!!! The Horned Frogs take advantage of a free kick to get on the board! Olivia Hasler with the strike. Credit Yazmeen Ryan and Gracie Brian with the assists!#GoFrogs pic.twitter.com/8VoruE1ueI— TCU Soccer (@TCUSoccer) April 3, 2021
This was only the beginning of arguably the best offensive performance the Frogs have had this season. Just eight minutes later, Yazmeen Ryan scored a curling free kick that managed to get over the Cowgirls wall by what appeared to be inches and put the Frogs up 2-0 in the 26th minute.
To finish off a dream first half, Grace Collins scored her 6th goal of the season by way of a header in the 39th minute. The shot was made possible thanks to a beautiful cross into the box by Yazmeen Ryan after an extended run down the left wing.
At the halftime whistle, TCU was outshooting Oklahoma State 13-3 (5-2 on goal) and had yet to feel any sort of pressure on the defensive end of the pitch.
Oklahoma State opened the second half looking like an entirely different team as they fired off as many shots in the first ten minutes of the half as they did the entire first 45 minutes (3).
Of course, there is no need to fear when you have the No. 2 ranked keeper in the nation when it comes to save percentage in Emily Alvarado. Alvarado wasn’t worked too hard in this contest, but when the Frogs defense was tested she came up with a few big saves down the stretch, tallying six total on the night.
The majority of the second half was a back-and-forth ballgame, as one would have expected it to be entering this matchup until the Frogs found their rhythm once again late in the second half.
The Horned Frogs did not let up on the pressure for the entirety of the game regardless of what the score read.
In the 75th minute, TCU was on a dangerous attack until there was a CLEAR penalty against Ok. State inside the Frogs’ box that wasn’t given. Gracie Brian had an opportunity on goal before she was brutally tackled from behind, ending the Frogs’ extensive attacking sequence.
Was the penalty called? No. Am I still complaining about the officiating even though the Frogs won by four? Of course.
One of my favorite sayings across all sports, “ball don’t lie,” came into fruition just minutes later as Yazmeen Ryan scored an absolute rocket with her left foot to give the Frogs their final goal of the night.
The shot was taken just inside the 18-yard box as Ryan managed to curl the ball past the keeper for a back-post goal. This was Ryan’s 6th goal of the season and 22nd of her career.
Tonight marked the first time TCU has scored four goals in a game since they beat Kansas State 4-0 back in 2019.
As amazing as the Frogs’ offense was tonight, we can’t forget about this top-notch defensive unit coach Eric Bell has put together.
Through 11 games this season, the Horned Frogs have given up a whopping three goals en route to nine clean sheets.
As we get closer and closer to the start of the NCAA tournament, the expectations surrounding the Horned Frogs seem to increase.
TCU is one of only four programs nationwide to qualify for four straight NCAA tournaments, and now with an undefeated record through the toughest portion of their schedule, all eyes will be on Eric Bell’s squad come April 30.
The Horned Frogs will face off against No. 23 Texas A&M next Saturday in their only road game of the spring season. The game is slated to begin at 7 p.m. CST.