No. 6 TCU huddles up before their game at Ohio State on Sept. 12. (Photo courtesy of @TCUSoccer)
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Coming off of an overtime win against Alabama last Thursday, No. 6 TCU defeated Ohio State 4-1, continuing the best start in program history with an improved 7-0 record.

The Horned Frogs had a slow start in a first half that finished with no goals on the board and an Ohio State team that looked more comfortable on the pitch.

The Buckeyes outshot the visiting Frogs 6-3 in the first 45 minutes, executing an intense press that did not allow TCU to find its footing.

Senior Kayla Fischer was Ohio State’s most dangerous player in the half, constantly finding space between the midfield and defensive lines.

For TCU, senior Maddy Warren had the Frogs’ only opportunity with a shot from outside the box that went high.

“The first half has been kind of boring to watch,” coach Eric Bell said in a halftime interview. “They haven’t given us any space to play, so we have to figure that out.”

And they did.

The Frogs still struggled to create clear chances in the first 20 minutes of the second half, but the substitutions were the catalyst for the victory as first-year reserves Camryn Lancaster and Lauren Memoly were involved in the first two goals.

In the 66th minute, junior Gracie Brian found Lancaster with a through ball to the right wing. She would then cross the ball to junior Skylar Heinrich, another player who came off the bench. Heinrich’s shot hit the post after it was deflected by the keeper, allowing Lauren Memoly to open up the scoreline with a tap-in after following the play.

Three minutes later, Lancaster was open on the wing again and squared another ball to Memoly, who finished with a tight shot to the left post to double the Frogs’ lead.

The two-goal advantage would not last for long as the Buckeyes bounced back with a goal in the 70th minute. 

Forward Emaly Vatne found the ball in the box and after a poor first touch regained control with a touch over defender Jenna Winebrenner. Vatne finished with a half-volley to the opposite corner of the goal to put Ohio State within one.

The Buckeyes went forward looking for the equalizer and came close on a couple of occasions, forcing goalkeeper sophomore Lauren Kellet to make a career-high six saves.

Ohio State’s push continued until the 83rd minute, when first-year Paige Crews dribbled through the pressure and found sophomore Olivia Hasler in her pocket. Hasler assisted senior Messiah Bright who finished with almost no angle after an initial save by the keeper to put TCU up 3-1.

A defensive mistake by the Buckeyes had Bright winning the ball on the run in the 86th minute. As she entered the box, she cut inside to beat the only defender left and with a left-footed strike, scored her second of the game and sealed the win for the Frogs.

“I’m pleased with the adjustments we made in the second half,” Bell said. “The players were able to put them to use and gave us a chance to win.”

With the 4-1 victory, TCU doubled down on its 2019 victory against Ohio State for a total record of 2-0 against the Buckeyes.

“I just told the team what we’ve done the last three games is hard,” Bell said. “We played on Sunday, traveled again on Wednesday, played Thursday and got a win, then flew again on Friday, train for a couple days only to play another good team in a tough environment. We came away with good victories. I’m really proud of the group.”

With their three-game road trip behind them, TCU will be back at Garvey-Rosenthal Stadium to face No. 13 Pepperdine on Thursday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and will be available to stream on ESPN+.

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