Sophomore Grace Collins scored her third game-winning goal of the season, and TCU soccer held on for a 1-0 victory over the No. 4 West Virginia University on Friday night to become Big 12 champions for the first time in school history.
“It’s a big step for our program. I’m really proud of our group. It’s been a long time coming. We’ve made it to some Big 12 Tournament finals and weren’t quite able to win the games,” head coach Eric Bell said. “To be able to do it against West Virginia, who has been the perennial power in the league, I don’t think I would have had it any other way. To beat a group that is very talented and come away with a championship is awesome.”
The intensity of the match was evident from the very beginning. West Virginia outshot TCU 5-3 in the first half, but both teams struggled to find the back of the net. Goalie Emily Alvarado came up with three huge saves to keep the game tied at zero, with her biggest coming in the 21st minute when she made a diving stop to halt a Mackenzie Aunkst attempt.
The Horned Frogs ended the first half forcing West Virginia’s goalie to make multiple saves.
TCU carried this momentum into the second half, finding shots on goal early on. Finally, Collin’s shot on a pass from Gracie Brian found the back of the net in the 51st minute to give TCU a 1-0 lead they would not lose.
The Mountaineers were able to find seven shots in the second half but none on goal, as Collins fifth goal this season went on to be the game winner.
Alvarado recorded her seventh shutout of the season and the 20th of her career.
“It was awesome. We had people that couldn’t get in and they were behind the goal outside the fence,” Bell said about the atmosphere at Garvey Rosenthal Stadium. “That’s what college sports are all about – the home-field advantage. I think our group took advantage of it.”
TCU finishes the season undefeated at 8-0-1. The 2020 season marks the first time ever that the Frogs have remained unbeaten through a conference schedule.