Early Texas A&M goal stands up as TCU soccer bows out

Texas A&M’s Stephanie Malherbe scored at the 6:16 mark and the Aggies held on to defeat TCU 1-0 in the first round of the NCAA Soccer Championships on Saturday night at TCU’s Garvey-Rosenthal Soccer Stadium.

Texas A&M (12-8-1) advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championship for the 19th consecutive season and will next play No. 2 seed Southern California (15-4-1).

TCU ends its season at 12-7-2, its most victories since 2008, and with its first NCAA tournament appearance.

Texas A&M capitalized on its first opportunity. Haley Pounds carried the ball down the right side of the field and sent a cross into the goal area. Mikaela Harvey tapped the ball back to Malherbe, who shot it into the upper portion of the goal for a 1-0 lead.

TCU pushed hard to get the equalizer. Emma Heckendorn had a golden opportunity from a severe angle, but Aggies goalkeeper Danielle Rice was just tall enough to knock it over the goal. Rice finished with four saves.

In the second half, TCU continued its push for the game-tying goal. No chance was better in the match than the one for Heckendorn in the 66th minute. Courtney Forte made a slick move to beat her defender and fed a great pass to Heckendorn. Her cross-body shot missed the open net by mere inches.

“First, congratulations to Texas A&M for advancing and moving on,” TCU coach Eric Bell said. “They’re a good team, a very good team. My assessment of the game is that we gave up a goal early, but prior to that and after that, I thought we had the lion’s share of the ball.”

TCU’s last victory over the Aggies came on Oct. 28, 1992, in a 1-0 victory in Fort Worth. TCU has lost the past 11 matches overall against A&M.

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