TCU's Run Continues In Exciting Fashion
Nov. 2, 2012
SAN ANTONIO - Regulation and two overtimes were not enough to decide the semifinal match between TCU and Texas. The Horned Frogs advanced in thrilling fashion with a 4-2 win in penalty kicks to advance to its first-ever Big 12 Championship game on Sunday.
"Fantastic effort by everyone on the team," raved head coach Eric Bell. "We were fortunate to come away with a tie at the end of the game. We lost a couple players during the game and the kids battled. People off the bench battled in a tremendous way and I couldn't be more elated with them. We're still playing and it's good just to still be playing. We're happy."
After three rounds, TCU held a 3-2 lead in the penalty kick phase. Lindsy Schafer, Sarah Schweiss and Serena Smith-Banas all connected. The only difference was the post hit by Texas' Chantale Campbell in the first round.
Longhorn keeper Abby Smith evened the misses with a save on Monica Alvarado's attempt, but Vittoria Arnold matched her with a save on Julie Arnold to put the advantage back in the hands of the Frogs. Kelly Johnson blasted the game-winner to the right of Smith to give TCU a 4-2 win in penalty kicks.
"We started practicing towards the middle of the season having people come in randomly and take shots to figure out who were the best," said Bell. "As you go on, you see who is quite good, come up with a good order and roll the dice if you can make them."
A very defensive first half saw the teams combine for just six total shots, four off the feet of Horned Frogs. Both teams played possession soccer, but good defense by the back lines for each squad prevented numerous scoring opportunities.
"The back line was fantastic," commented Bell. "Morgan Lane was fantastic. Serena Smith-Banas, Monica Alvarado, Bobbi Clemmer and even Caroline Patel coming in last minute did fantastic. To hold a team like that, the way they play, is very difficult and challenging for us to deal with and we did a good job."
TCU had the match's first golden opportunity to take the lead just three minutes in. Maddy Courvoisier did a good job to play the Longhorn defender, forcing her to kick the ball out of bounds. On the ensuing throw in, Johnson's feed was right on target, but Smith-Banas' header was punched out by Smith.
Texas made good runs down the sidelines, but every time it made an effort to cross the ball into the penalty box, a TCU defender was there to break up the chance. Lane was a beast on the right side as she broke up a majority of the Longhorn chances, setting up goal kicks for Arnold.
The Longhorns squandered a two-on-one break with just under 13 minutes to go in the half. Lachapelle chipped the ball past the TCU defender and found herself alone with Kelsey Shimmick. Clemmer was the only defender between Texas and the goal and she did her job as she intercepted the Lachapelle feed.
The Frogs turned the good defensive play into an eventual corner kick. Clemmer's feed from the right side of the field created a ton of havoc in the goal box. Madeline Hamm sent the ball back into the six-yard box. Her cross was punched out by Smith right to a waiting Schafer. Her shot was too hard as it sailed over the goal and out of danger.
In the second half, it was TCU once again getting the early scoring opportunity. Nine minutes in, the Frogs pushed the ball into the penalty box. The Frogs worked the ball to the foot of Sarah Schweiss. Her initial shot was blocked back by a pair of Longhorn defenders and her follow-up shot on the rebound sailed wide of the net.
Texas fired off eight shots to just five for the Horned Frogs in the second half, but only got one shot on goal. TCU was helped out by an offsides call with under a minute left as the Texas forward would have been in alone.
In the first overtime, Texas had two golden opportunities to end the match. With six minutes to go, the ball was played back to Arnold. Her attempt to clear the ball ricocheted off a Texas forward and drifted just wide of the goal.
With just over a minute left in first overtime, the Frogs were whistled for a foul on the far side. The cross was right on target as Meyer got her head on the ball. Arnold reached across and punched it off the crossbar just before it crossed the line to help send the game to a second overtime.
An uneventful second overtime pushed the match to penalty kicks, where the Frogs prevailed.
TCU advances to its first-ever postseason tournament championship match. The Horned Frogs are the first eight-seed to play in the Big 12 Championship match. TCU will meet the winner of the Baylor-Texas Tech semifinal on Sunday at 1 p.m. The match will air live on Fox Sports Net.