Aug. 31, 2012
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HOUSTON - The Rice soccer team saw its two-game unbeaten streak come to an end as TCU scored a pair of second half goals to claim a 2-0 win over the Owls Friday night at the Rice Soccer Stadium.
TCU senior midfielder Monica Alvarado netted both goals, and Horned Frog freshman Makenzie Koch provided the assists on both of the scores.
Rice outshot TCU for the game 21-9. For as well as the Owls were able to apply the offensive pressure, including a 10-4 lead in shots in the first half, the Blue & Gray couldn't get the ball to bounce its way. In fact `bounce' might have been part of the problem as Rice had shots hit off the framework twice in the first half. Senior Lauren LaGro had a long shot strike off the crossbar in the 14th minute, while senior Julia Barrow had a hard attempt hit off a post in the 39th.
The contest was deadlocked 0-0 at the half, but TCU opened the scoring with Alvarado's goal in the 55th minute. Mackenzie took a corner kick and found Alvarado inside the keeper's box. Alvarado's header first hit the left post before bouncing-in diagonally to the back right side for a 1-0 Horned Frog lead.
Rice head coach Nicky Adams is among the most practical of soccer coaches, who has seen a lot of different game-situations in a myriad of matches over the years. Even coach Adams, however, didn't have quite a full explanation of how the ball can bounce one way for one team, and then go another direction for the other team.
"Soccer can be a funny game," coach Adams said, though clearly not finding the humor on this particular occasion. "I think we did well at creating offensive chances, but it doesn't matter how many opportunities you create if you can't put the ball in the back of the net. It doesn't matter how many shots you take if they don't go in. (Hitting the post and crossbar) is going to happen, but what we need to do is continue to fight, fight and fight until that ball is put in the back of the net."
The Horned Frogs stretched the margin to 2-0 with the second goal in the 69th minute. Makenzie made long serve from the right wing to Alvarado, who scored on a header from 12 yards out. The goals were Alvarado's first two of the young season.
"TCU did a nice job of being patient and they capitalized on something we knew they were very dangerous at doing," Adams explained. "We worked on it, we knew who their target was. We didn't mark-up very tightly on either one of those. They recycled their runs and we lost her. We are learning a lesson that we need to touch-tight in the box, and on the offensive side we have to finish our chances."
The Owls had a wealth of offensive chances, and not just the ones that found the frames. Freshman Holly Hargreaves led all players with five shots and fellow freshmen Lauren Hughes and Jasmine Isokpunwu added another four and three attempts, respectively.
"Individually our forwards did a really good job," Adams said. "Holly Hargreaves is a work-horse for us up front. Not only does she provide something for us offensively, she runs down back lines. Our forwards, who are for the most part all brand new to the college game, really battled out there. We just need to be better at supporting them once we find them, and get more players around them. We could really help ourselves if we finish our opportunities."
The Owls are now 1-2-1 on the young season. TCU moved to 2-1-1 overall. Rice closes out the weekend set of home games on Sunday (Sept. 2). The Blue & Gray host longtime foe Texas State at the Rice Soccer Stadium at 7 pm.