TCU scored in the 54th minute and the goal held up as the game-winner in the Horned Frogs’ 1-0 victory over Montana Friday night at the TCU Invitational in Fort Worth, Texas.
It was the second consecutive 1-0 loss for the Grizzlies (1-2-0) after opening the season last Friday with a 2-0 victory at Wyoming.
More than just the second game on the opening day of a four-team tournament, the match also represented second-year coach Mark Plakorus’s return to the school where he coached for six seasons prior to taking over at Montana.
If he wanted to show off his new team to the TCU players he recruited and those in the crowd of 2,054 who knew him, Plakorus came away happy, despite the result. Montana outshot TCU and generated more scoring opportunities.
“I’m extremely pleased with how we came out and performed tonight,” he said. “I always tell the girls, it’s not about the wins and losses. It’s about our level of play, and tonight I thought we were just as good if not better than our opponent.
“It was a good crowd and a good environment, and we represented ourselves well.”
Montana will be able to look back to the first half to find all the opportunities it needed to take an early lead.
Kate Wilkins put a shot on goal off a Mary Makris corner kick in the 19th minute, and Makris put a header on goal off a Paytyn Wheeler corner in the 38th minute.
In between was the night’s best opportunity for either team: a breakaway for Tyler Adair in the 27th minute. A ball was played through, and it left Adair in a one-v-one breakaway against TCU keeper Vittoria Arnold.
Arnold got just enough of her hands on Adair’s shot that she was able to spin and grab the goal-bound ball before it crossed the line.
“We had some great looks, but their keeper made some fantastic saves,” Plakorus said.
TCU mustered just three first-half shots, none of which were on goal. Even so, it was 0-0 at the break.
Brittany Slyman, one of Plakorus’s recruits, put TCU ahead in the 54th minute with her first goal of the season.
Slyman, who would take a match-high five shots, took possession of the ball at the top of the 18-yard box and whistled a shot past Montana keeper Kristen Hoon (1-2-0), who suffered her second straight tough-luck loss.
Slyman’s shot was one of only two the Horned Frogs put on net all night.
“Our back four (of Wilkins, Lauren Costa, Alyssa Nystrom and Maddey Frey) was just fantastic,” Plakorus said. “And the subs that went in for them were very good as well.
“For the most part we were able to control things tonight.”
Montana took seven of its 12 shots for the match in the second half, but only Makris’s in the 76th minute was on goal. Arnold (1-0-1) finished with four saves to pick up her first victory of the season.
Makris’s three shots led the Grizzlies. Adair, Wilkins, senior Erin Craig and junior India Watne all took a pair of shots. Both teams took five corner kicks.
Montana will face unbeaten Texas Tech Sunday at 10 a.m. (MT). The Red Raiders moved to 3-0-0 on the season Friday afternoon after a goal in the 90th minute gave them a 1-0 victory over Stephen F. Austin.