TCU Soccer opened conference play with a 1-0 win over the Kansas Jayhawks, moving to 8-1 on the season and now 1-0 in the Big 12.
FROGS WIN!— TCU Soccer (@TCUSoccer) September 24, 2021
TCU opens Big 12 play with a shutout victory over Kansas. Messiah Bright gets her second game-winning goal of the season. Lauren Kellett makes seven saves for her third shutout of the year.#GoFrogs pic.twitter.com/CE7dDl1NkV
Aside from the weather, tonight wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win. Tonight’s matchup was a hard fought, physical battle for all 90 minutes.
The Frogs have an unsettling tendency to start games slow and really dial it in come the second half, which is exactly what happened in this one. There were a few moments of chaos inside the Jayhawks box in the first half, but nothing ever broke through for the Frogs.
“Our work rate, our attention to detail, movement on and off the ball to help us keep the ball were all things we wanted to focus on and we still need to focus on those things. I don’t think it was quite good enough today,” said Head Coach Eric Bell.
TCU was attempting to maintain possession and develop methodical build-ups whereas Kansas took any counter attack or deflection they could get to catch the Frogs’ back line off guard. Although Kansas lead the final shot count 19-18, the majority of their shots were taken from outside the 18-yard-box and never had a real chance of going in.
The Frogs on the other hand had plenty of quality chances on goal, but it was Messiah Bright’s 48th minute strike that stands as the lone, game-winning goal. Her sixth goal of the season.
The goal was a beautiful team play with numerous Frogs involved in the mix. Grace Collins created an opportunity with her feet out on the wing before sending a through ball to Camryn Lancaster who then crossed it over to Slater for the finish.
No matter which line of forwards is in the game - Collins, Brian, Bright, Slater, Memoly, Lancaster, Heinrich - the Frogs’ chemistry has been off the charts in the attacking third.
A lot of the forwards’ success can be attributed by this fiery freshmen class, highlighted by Camryn Lancaster. Lancaster made her first of what will be many career starts in a Horned Frogs uniform, and she balled out.
“She’s a fantastic talent. She is showing different levels of abilities and different things that she can do on and off the ball that are allowing us to create some really big goal scoring opportunities,” said Bell.
When asked if we can expect Lancaster in the starting lineup from here on out, Bell didn’t make any promises, but said she’ll be in the starting 11 for the foreseeable future.
Aside from Bright’s game-winning goal and Lancaster’s first ever start, sophomore goalkeeper Lauren Kellett had yet another sensational performance. She tied her career-high tonight with 7 saves to maintain the Frogs’ fifth shutout of the season.
Although Kellett may seem like a brick wall in goal, ideally the Frogs don’t want her facing 19 shots in a single game like she did tonight against Kansas.
“The game got really stretched,” said Bell. “There were a lot of seams and gaps for both teams to play and we’ve got to address that in training tomorrow and Saturday to button up and make sure we’re ready to go against Baylor.”
As coach Bell pointed out, there was certainly room for improvement in tonight’s performance, but the important thing is that the Frogs are 1-0 in the Big 12 with a HUGE rivalry matchup slated for this weekend.
No. 8 TCU takes on Baylor this Sunday at Garvey-Rosenthal Stadium to round out their three-game homestead. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 pm this Sunday, but if the crowd is anything like it was tonight - I recommend getting there a tad early.