MSU soccer falls to TCU in NCAA tournament: 'We have been living on the edge for too long'

Justin Frommer
Lansing State Journal
MSU’s Zivana Labovic (20) consoles Camryn Evans (10) after MSU’s 1-0 loss to TCU in the second round of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at Alumni Stadium.

SOUTH BEND – When it comes to the NCAA Tournament, details become more meaningful. 

The No. 4-seeded Michigan State women’s soccer team learned that the hard way in its second-round loss to TCU at Alumni Stadium on the campus of Notre Dame. 

The No. 5 Horned Frogs scored the game’s lone goal in the third minute when Camryn Lancaster beat Big Ten goalie of the year Lauren Kozal, ending the Spartans’ historic season. 

TCU advanced to play the winner of No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 8 Santa Clara, who played later Friday night, in Sunday’s Sweet Sixteen match. 

“A slow start ended our season,” Michigan Statecoach Jeff Hosler said. “We have had some moments where we have been hanging on, but we have been living on the edge for too long, not being disciplined enough and unfortunately that one moment is why we are going to walk away with a loss today.” 

Michigan State (17-3-3) used an extra-time winner from graduated forward Camryn Evans last week against Milwaukee to advance to Friday’s second round action, but were held scoreless on Friday for the first time in its last 15 matches. 

The Spartans controlled most of the game, outshooting TCU 17-6 and putting six shots on goal to the Horned Frogs’ three. Two of those, in the final 10 minutes, ricocheted off of the crossbar leaving the Spartans to watch another strong goal-scoring effort come up empty.

MSU’s Justina Gaynor (18) passes the ball as TCU’s Skylar Heinrich (25) defends in the second round of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at Alumni Stadium.

“These games come down to details and unfortunately there was one detail they capitalized on,” said Evans, who also had a strong scoring opportunity saved by TCU's Lauren Kellett. "It is a good lesson going forward for these girls that get to come back next year.” 

Michigan State, who played in its first NCAA Tournament since 2009, saw its banner season come to an end earlier than hoped. The Big Ten Conference regular-season champions had dreams of reaching this year’s College Cup in Cary, North Carolina, for the first time, only to be headed home from South Bend for third time in five tournament appearances. 

“It is crazy. You don’t have a new coach come in and in two years win a conference and make it to the second round of the tournament,” Evans said. “I think from that point we are proud of ourselves, but it sets a precedent that now we know what we are capable of and there is only room for more."

Returning the majority of its roster for next season, Hosler, heading into year No. 3 at the helm, believed this could just be the beginning of a successful era of Michigan State women’s soccer. 

“Clearly a new standard has been set,” Hosler said. “To do what we did in non-conference, roll that into a conference championship, it says a lot about where we are going. Frankly this is the expectation going forward. Spartan soccer is going to be a first-semester sport and that is what we are looking to make this.”

MSU’s Bria Schrotenboer (14) and goalkeeper Lauren Kozal (00) attempt to stop a shot on goal in the second round of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at Alumni Stadium.