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TCU 360

All TCU. All the time.

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Soccer remains undefeated with draw against SMU

McKenzie Oliver (12) runs through the pregame tunnel against SMU on August 26, 2018. Photo by Jack Wallace.

TCU soccer bounced back from a slow start Sunday against SMU to record a 2-2 draw.

The Horned Frogs fell behind 2-0 courtesy of a pair of Mustang strikes, but goals from Isabelle Juarez and Ariana Owens saw them draw level and finish the game tied.

TCU came out in their usual 4-4-2 diamond formation. The only surprise in the lineup was Tara Smith starting in place of Yazmeen Ryan, who sat out again on Sunday with an injury.

McKenzie Oliver dribbles into space against SMU on August 26, 2018. Photo by Jack Wallace.

SMU opened the scoring in the fourth minute when midfielder Courtney Sebazco found space at the top of the 18-yard box and buried a shot in the bottom-left corner past a diving Katie Lund.

The Mustangs doubled their lead in the 20th minute when midfielder Celiana Torres intercepted a TCU pass and finished past Lund.

Due to the high temperatures during the game, referee Kevin Terry inserted a mandatory hydration break in the 23rd minute, and that’s where things began to turn around for TCU.

“I think we needed to step up our energy level and our work rate,” TCU Head Coach Eric Bell said. “Once we did that, we were able to get ahold of the game and create some scoring chances.”

One important change that TCU made was at defense — Bell rarely substitutes his center backs during matches but brought on Brandi Peterson for defender Tijana Djuricek in the 24th minute. Peterson made several crucial tackles in extra time to keep the game tied.

Tijana Djuricek fights for the ball with SMU’s Courtney Sebazco on August 26, 2018. Photo by Jack Wallace.

“One of our center backs took a knock, so we had to take her out,” Bell said of Djuricek. “Fortunately, we have a lot of depth at the position, so we were able to put Brandi into the game, and she did a wonderful job.”

The Frogs pulled a goal back in the 26th minute when forward Maddy Warren turned and fired a shot at goal. The ball ricocheted off the post, but defender Isabelle Juarez was prepared and ran onto it, finishing into an empty net.

“Maddy took a hit, and I just followed through,” Juarez said. “It was my first goal, so I’m very excited about that.”

Another element of the TCU turnaround was their short passing.

When the Frogs struggled in the beginning of the match, they were attempting to play more direct, which gave SMU the opportunity to find more space on the counterattack. Conversely, making shorter passes and attempting to play out of the back allowed them to keep the pressure on the Mustangs.

“We want to pass the ball,” Bell said. “Once we were able to do that, we were able to switch the point of attack and create some more chances.”

The game remained 2-1 until the 73rd minute when Ariana Owens saw SMU goalkeeper Catie Brown drop the ball and pounced on the opportunity, stealing the ball and scoring.

Tara Smith (16) looks on as Maddy Warren (20) fires a shot at goal against SMU on August 26, 2018. Photo by Jack Wallace.

Owens left the match shortly thereafter with an apparent injury and was seen on crutches after the match.

The game was still tied at 2-2 heading into extra time, and that scoreline held until the final whistle.

“I think we have some fight in us,” Bell said of his team’s performance. “We’re young, and we have to learn some lessons the hard way. I think we did that today, and hopefully, we can come out with a better start on Thursday.”

The draw keeps TCU undefeated on the season with a 3-0-1 record. The Frogs will be back in action against Pittsburgh at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

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