TCU vs Kansas soccer in Fort Worth, Texas on September 22, 2017. (Photo by/Sharon Ellman)

print
Strong play in the Horned Frogs’ attacking third for the majority of the match paid off in double overtime as sophomore midfielder Tara Smith found the back of the net to propel the Frogs to victory in the Frogs’ Big 12 opener over Kansas.

“I was very impressed tonight,” head coach Eric Bell said. “We were able to play 105 minutes and played pretty awesome soccer for the entire time. I was very pleased with the entire performance over the entire game.

The first half began with back-and-forth action as neither team was able to generate a quality scoring chance until the 11th minute of the game. A pass from sophomore goalkeeper Katie Lund made its way into junior midfielder McKenzie Oliver’s lap, immediately turning on the jets and blowing by two Jayhawks defenders. Oliver’s cross into the box to senior forward Emma Heckendorn was right on target, but Heckendorn’s shot soared over the crossbar.

The Frogs continued to amp up the pressure as the half progressed. The best scoring chance in the first half for the Frogs came in the 25th minute. Heckendorn drove into the box and passed the ball out to freshman midfielder Yazmeen Ryan who ripped the shot to goal, but an incredible diving save by Kansas’ senior goalkeeper Maddie Dobyns shocked the crowd in what seemed to be a guaranteed goal.

The first half ended in a 0-0 tie but TCU dominated and determined play for a majority of the half, outshooting the Jayhawks 11 to three with five corners in the half.

The Horned Frogs maintained the pressure from the first half through the break and into the second period. In the 64th minute, the Jayhawks were forced with a tough task to overcome. A major head-to-head collision at midfield between Kansas’ senior midfielder Hannah Lukinac and junior midfielder Karitas Tomasdottir resulted in a red card and ejection for Lukinac. During the most pivotal point in the match, Kansas were forced to complete the match down a player.

 

“After the red card, they seemed to back off a bit, giving us some space to stretch their play and work around them,” Smith said.

The Frogs swarmed the Kansas defense, but the Jayhawks didn’t back down. An 81st minute foul by first-year defender Tijana Djuricek awarded Kansas a free kick that found an opening in the defense and an open goal, but a quick reaction by first-year defender Ariana Owens sliding in front of the goal saved the game for the Frogs.

“Kansas is a pretty resilient group,” Bell said. “After that red card, they hunkered down and held us, fought and battled. Their goalkeeper made some great saves to keep them in it, so credit to them.”

The first overtime period didn’t prove to be any different from regulation play. A majority of the 10 minutes in the period were played in the TCU attacking third, but the Frogs couldn’t convert.

The strong attack for the entire night finally paid off for the Frogs. In the 106th minute, Smith scored her second goal of the season and second-career goal, both of which have been game-winners. She ripped the ball from just inside the box into the upper corner of the net.

The goal was the golden goal of the match, giving the Frogs a 1-0 victory in their first match of conference play.

“When I got the ball, I saw a lot of people in front of me, and I told myself to kick the ball hard and on frame,” Smith said. “It went in, so it worked out.”

The 1-0 final score did not reflect how the game played out. The Frogs dominated possession all night long and didn’t allow Kansas any scoring opportunities until late in the match. Bell praised his team for their efforts following the match.

“I thought we played awesome,” Bell said. “We created a lot of scoring opportunities and had the ball for a large share of the game. Our defending was spot on and they didn’t have a lot of chances. Overall, it was a great performance in all three phases of the game.”

Smith praised the crowd following the match, applauding their loud support on the night and for the entire season.

“They’re always loud and energetic and that helped us out tonight,” Smith said.

With the win, TCU is now 5-1 at home, the only loss coming to the hands of Northeastern. The game was the second overtime game the Frogs have played in this season, improving to 2-0. The game was TCU’s second consecutive shutout and fourth of the season.

The Frogs will continue their three-game homestead as they face Kansas State, the Big 12’s newest member, Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m.