No. 5 TCU Soccer suffered their first loss of the season tonight, falling to No. 9 Pepperdine 1-0 at home.
The first 20 minutes or so were pretty telling for how the rest of the game would pan out. Pepperdine fired off 11 shots in the first 20 minutes of play, barely giving the Frogs a chance to maintain possession and get some passing going.
If it wasn’t for Lauren Kellett, this game would have gotten out of hand early. The sophomore goalkeeper set her new career high with SEVEN saves in the first 20 minutes of the game, giving the Frogs a fighting chance.
“I thought she was fantastic tonight,” said Head Coach Eric Bell. “She made a few really big saves to keep us in it.”
TCU’s first attempt on goal wouldn’t come until the 26th minute, but eventually they got their feet underneath them and were able to string some passes together and get some more shots up.
Typically, the Horned Frogs dominate possession and slowly but surely wear their opponents down by stretching the field and utilizing their wingers. Not so much against Pepperdine. The Waves never seemed to get tired.
Pepperdine might be the first team in the last two seasons that I’ve seen match TCU’s speed and intensity. They just never quit.
“I thought they were really organized in the back and we’re not getting stretched out too much which made it hard for us to break them down,” said Bell.
Losing is never fun, especially in front of a home crowd, but in the grand scheme of things this is not a bad loss to have. Pepperdine is a top 10 team with 11 NCAA Tournament berths and three Sweet 16 appearances.
Who knows, maybe TCU will run into the Waves again come tournament time.
The lone goal of the evening was scored in the 65th minute after a miscommunication between the Horned Frogs back line and keeper.
Pepperdine sent in an excellent through ball, and it seemed as if Kellett was debating whether or not she should come off her line and go for the ball. By the time a decision was reached, the Pepperdine forward got another touch on it, sending a slow roller into the back of the net.
Aside from the first 20 minutes and the goal for Pepperdine, this was a roughly even ballgame. After the slow start, TCU eventually got on the front foot and brought the shot count from 11-0 to finish at 18-10. Still not ideal, but a sign of improvement as the game went on nonetheless.
“In the second half I thought it was pretty even up until the goal. We’ve got to be sharper in those moments and be sharper in our attacking third and those spots where it takes a good team to pull off a win against another good team,” said Bell.
The Horned Frogs will have plenty more chances to pad their resume with wins against good teams as Big 12 play starts this weekend.
TCU Soccer continues their three-game homestead after a break this weekend with a matchup against Kansas. The first game of conference play is slated for next Thursday, Sep 23 at 7 pm CST.