KANSAS CITY, Mo. –
Texas Tech used a suffocating defense and a 31st-minute tally by junior Paige Strahan to blank seventh-seeded TCU, 1-0, in the final contest of the quarterfinals Wednesday evening at Swope Soccer Village.
As they've done for most of the year, the second-seeded Red Raiders' defense dominated the match, holding the seventh-seeded Horned Frogs to just five shots, including just two on frame. Tech earned its 16th shutout of the season Wednesday, further adding to its program-best total.
First Team All-Big 12 goalkeeper Victoria Esson recorded her 14th shutout, needing to make just two saves as the backline of Jaelene Hinkle, Hayley Haagsma, Kansas Bayly and Jade Dapaah proved to be impenetrable.
"Our team defense was awesome tonight," Tech head coach Tom Stone said. "We expected TCU to come out and pressure us, I told the girls to be prepared for that. But our defenders are really good on the ball, which makes it tough to do much against them."
Strahan, an All-Big 12 Second Team selection, provided the only offense, lofting a shot high over the goalkeeper from 30-plus yards out and into the net.
"It goes back to my freshman year," said Strahan, describing the goal. "My coach (Tom Stone) told me that I need to shoot more, and I've worked on (shooting from long range) it. A lot of times you don't need a lot of pace on a shot from that far out, you just need to be accurate."
"We call that the 'Paige Zone'," said Stone. "It's about a 10-foot by 10-foot area that she is deadly from. That goal was a big lift for us, it really got our team fired up."
Fellow junior Jaelene Hinkle started the play, dribbling across the timeline and slotting the ball across the field for Strahan, who made a run on the far side of the field before unleashing her shot. Hinkle picked up her 14th career assist on the play, which moved her to fourth on Texas Tech's all-time list.
Despite just a lone tally, Tech's offense possessed the ball for a majority of the match, outshooting the Horned Frogs, 25-5, including 12-1 in the second half.
Sophomore forward Janine Beckie led the Red Raider offense with five shots, while Paige chipped in three, including a pair on frame.
TCU's best chance came in the 27th minute when Kelly Johnson sent a low shot towards the far side of the net from just inside the 18, but Esson made a diving stab.
Horned Frogs goalkeeper Shannon Coffer made nine saves to keep the score close. It marked the freshman's third-straight contest with seven or more.
Tech (17-1-2) advances to meet the sixth-seed Oklahoma State, which upset Texas earlier Wednesday, at 8 p.m. in Friday's semifinal round. TCU finishes the season with a 6-10-3 record.