Frogs drop defensive battle to Mustangs in Dallas

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TCU soccer fell to SMU Thursday night in a strong defensive showing from both teams. An early goal from the Mustangs proved to be the difference maker in the match as the Frogs couldn’t overcome the early deficit and were shutout for the second time this season.

Following last Friday’s loss to Northeastern, a match that ended TCU’s three-game win streak, the Frogs came into Dallas for Thursday night’s rivalry game against SMU with the same perspective as they would for any other game.

“We prepare the same for every opponent,” head coach Eric Bell said. “There wasn’t anything different for tonight’s match, we just faced a quality opponent.”

Neither team began the first half with much determination. Both teams came out of the gates very flat with a lot of incomplete passes and balls deflected out of bounds.

Roughly three minutes into the half, the Frogs amped up the pressure and began to dictate the pace of the half. TCU earned a few good scoring chances with strong play by senior forward Emma Heckendorn, first-year midfielder Yazmeen Ryan and sophomore midfielder Tara Smith, but could not find the back of the net.

“In the first 20 minutes, we played well,” Bell said. “We weren’t very dangerous, but we had possession of the ball. In the next 2o minutes, [SMU] played much more aggressively and really took it to us. I think that’s where we lost the game.”

The Mustangs broke the tie in the 26th minute off a corner kick. Junior defender Haley Thompson crossed the ball into the box from the right corner to redshirt junior forward Vanessa Valadez, who headed the ball into the bottom left corner of the net past first-year goalkeeper Emily Alvarado.

At the half, the Mustangs led the Frogs 1-0. Defense was the name of the game in the first half and both teams finished the half with only one shot on goal.

Within the first few minutes of the second half, the Frogs came out with a strong intensity to try to even up the score.  TCU earned a corner kick and a free kick within the first four minutes of the half and had multiple opportunities to score that were intercepted by Mustang defenders and the Mustang’s junior goalkeeper Catie Brown.

As the second half continued, neither team was able to find a hole in the opposition’s defense.

In the final minute of the match, the Frogs created two corner kicks and a free kick, but still couldn’t break through the strong defensive wall the Mustangs built and held throughout the entire 90 minute match.

“The second half was ours,” Bell said. “We had the ball and created a lot of chances, but couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.”

The SMU Mustangs defeated the Horned Frogs 1-0, even though the Frogs outshot the Mustangs 11-6 in the game, with five shots on goal to SMU’s one. The Mustangs scored on their only shot on goal.

Bell praised SMU’s team and gave their defense credit for their strong play on the night.

“Credit to SMU for figuring out a game plan to win the game,” Bell said. “They were very strong, nice and steady. We put them under a lot of pressure and they were able to withstand that pressure.”

The Frogs will complete the weekend road trip and wrap-up non-conference play Sunday against the Lumberjacks of Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches, Texas. The game will kickoff at 1:00 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN3.