Soccer earns third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance

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For the third consecutive season, TCU Soccer will participate in the NCAA Tournament.

The NCAA announced the 64-team field during their annual selection show Monday afternoon. The Horned Frogs are matched-up with the Brigham Young University (BYU) Cougars.

“It’s important we show a level of consistency with our play and winning games and getting to the NCAA Tournament,” said TCU head coach Eric Bell. “Every year we’ve gotten a little bit better. I’m happy with our progress but still looking for more as we move into the tournament.”

Led by junior forward Elise Flake, BYU, an automatic bid to the tournament from the West Coast Conference, finished the regular season and conference tournament with a 13-4-1 record, including a record of 8-1 in conference play.

Flake has recorded 31 points on the season, 15 goals and six assists. Goalkeeper Sabrina Davis boasts a goal against average of 1.02 and a .762 save percentage.

Both teams faced one common opponent this season: the Santa Clara Broncos. The Horned Frogs lost to the Broncos 3-0 on Sept. 13 while the Cougars defeated Santa Clara, 2-0 Oct. 27.

Eric Bell said his team is “hungry” and ready for Friday’s matchup against BYU. Photo by Jack Wallace

The team held a watch party for the selection show and familiar faces from the TCU Athletics community were on-hand to support. Men’s basketball head coach Jamie Dixon, volleyball head coach Jill Kramer and women’s golf head coach Angie Ravaioli-Larkin were in attendance at the Stuart Family Courtside Club Monday.

“Turning around and seeing all of the coaches here, it helps so much knowing we have so much support,” said senior forward McKenzie Oliver. “It’s an awesome feeling that over the past three years, our support system keeps getting bigger and bigger as our success gets better.”

The club’s first-ever NCAA appearance came in 2016, falling 1-0 to Texas A&M in Fort Worth. Last season, the Frogs lost to Arizona in Tucson in heartbreaking fashion, 2-1.

The Big 12’s third-place team is confident in their ability to win under the lights of Garvey-Rosenthal, posting a 7-1-2 record in front of their home crowd this season.

“We will need a home-field advantage,” Bell said. “BYU is a good team and they’ll be a worthy opponent. Having home field advantage will get us over the edge.”

First-year forwards Messiah Bright and Maddy Warren have contributed heavily to the team’s offensive production this season. Bright, the Co-Big 12 Freshman of the Year, has recorded five goals and 11 points on the season and Warren is tied with senior forward Kayla Hill for the team lead in goals with six. Warren leads the team with 16 points.

Maddy Warren (right) leads the team with 16 points on the season. Photo by Jack Wallace

Sophomore goalie Emily Alvarado has six shutouts on the season and holds a .820 save percentage and a 0.85 goals against average.

Sophomore midfielder Yazmeen Ryan, a first-team all-conference selection, led the team with 9 points in Big 12 play.

“For me being through this for three seasons now, the whole message is to have fun as we go because you never know when our season is going to end,” Oliver said.

The Horned Frogs serve as a first-round host for the second time in three seasons. Kickoff against BYU is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Garvey-Rosenthal Soccer Stadium.

The winner of the contest will face the winner of the Texas A&M-North Texas game at a site to be determined.