With Arizona hosting TCU Saturday night, it marked the third straight year that the program has hosted an NCAA tournament game. Usually, in the tournament, you’re going to face a team you haven’t seen all season. That wasn’t the case for Arizona as it played TCU in a rematch from earlier this season when Arizona won in a shootout 4-3.
It was a completely different game, gritty from start to finish that ended in an Arizona 1-0 victory. Both defenses were tested with flurries of shots on goal; the difference is that those shots weren’t finding the back of the net. Arizona played TCU earlier in the season, where freshman Hope Hisey allowed two late goals giving TCU a chance. In Saturday’s game, Hisey showed TCU how much she has progressed since then by having a clean sheet in her first NCAA tournament game.
On the offensive end, Arizona struggled in the first half to find any consistent rhythm of attack. When the Wildcats did get an opening, the shot would go over the crossbar, or the TCU goalie Emily Alvarado would make the stop.
Around the 55th minute, Arizona turned to the bench to try to get some fresh legs on the field to bring some energy. One of the players that came off the bench was senior attacker Brynn Moga, whose job is to “create chaos” on the field. In the 62nd minute, Moga brought the chaos to the TCU defense, putting the ball in the back of the net, breaking the 0-0 tie to put Arizona on top 1-0.
You’d think with that being the final score; the drama would be over, that was not the case as TCU went from 11-players on the field to 10 from a red card. The reason for the red car was because things got more than chippy with a TCU player striking defender Hallie Pearson.
Then, as if that wasn’t enough, TCU made a late attempt at a goal striking the ball off the bottom of the top post that nearly was the game-tying goal. Arizona would hold off TCU to win its final match in front of the home crowd.
The win sets up a match in Palo Alto, Calif., against 4th seed Penn State, which is coming off of a 4-1 win over Stony Brook. This is the third straight year of Arizona making the second weekend of the NCAA tournament, the first time in program history.