“Our quality was able to show out,” head coach Eric Bell said. “We were able to keep possession of the ball, swing it around, and play fast, so when [ULM] wanted it, they were so deep in their own end that they just resorted to kicking it deep down the field.”
After a renovation of Garvey-Rosenthal Stadium that lasted from late February to July, the Horned Frogs unveiled the new field in front of a packed house of 1,313 in attendance, including 471 students.
Bell was interested to see what the turnout would be in his first ever season opener at home.
“With the renovations to the stadium and having everyone come out to see this beautiful venue helped us out a lot,” Bell said.
Before the stadium renovations, the defective drainage system made it very difficult to play in the rain, and players will no longer have to run uphill during games. One side of the field was six feet higher than the other.
“In our situation, the resurfacing needed to happen,” Bell said. “These improvements are going to allow us to have a championship performance on a championship field.”
The Horned Frogs came out of the gates strong, dominating possession and not allowing a single shot on goal in the first half. TCU outshot the Warhawks 13-0 in the first 45 minutes.
The first goal scored on the new field came off the foot of senior forward Allison Ganter, the first of her career. ULM sophomore midfielder Tara Smith drew the penalty in the box in the 15th minute, awarding TCU with a penalty kick that Ganter converted.
The Frogs intensified the offense in the second half, scoring four goals on four shots on goal. TCU doubled the lead in the 50th minute with a chip-shot from junior midfielder Danielle Eule, who converted off a corner kick ricocheted off Karitas Tomasdottir.
In the 66th and 70th minutes, freshman forward Natalee Heiser scored the third and fourth goals of the night for the Frogs.
In preparation for Heiser’s first college game, she said she felt very good and didn’t have any nerves at all.
“We put in a lot of work in practice and put it all out on the field tonight,” Heiser said.
For freshmen players like Heiser, Bell said that it’s a process to get the newcomers to integrate with the team’s style, but he believes that over the course of the season the fans will see that the Horned Frogs have some very exciting players that can attack in many different ways.
Freshman midfielder Yazmeen Ryan extended the lead to five goals in the 85th minute.
With the game almost entirely played in TCU’s attacking zone, sophomore goalkeeper Katie Lund saw very minimal action. The Frogs outshot the Warhawks 23-0 during the game.
For Bell and the Frogs, the expectation is to return to the NCAA tournament.
“With the players that we brought in and the players we have returning, we believe will be able to do that,” Bell said. “We are expecting a lot of big things from a lot of good people.”
The Frogs look to continue their momentum Sunday against UTSA at 1:00 p.m. at Garvey-Rosenthal Stadium.