The first career hat trick for TCU freshman forward Michelle Prokof lifted the Horned Frogs over the visiting Central Arkansas Bears 3-0 Sunday afternoon.
TCU’s star freshman scored a pair of goals within two minutes of each other to give the Horned Frogs a 2-0 halftime lead.
Prokof first scored after a TV timeout with 22 minutes left in the first half on a rebound after sophomore midfielder Mackenzie Koch’s shot was deflected.
“Coach told us that we have to score off this throw in, this play, and we did,” Prokof said. “That changed the game for us and from that point on we had the game.”
Less than two minutes later, Prokof scored again when she slid through the box with perfect timing to redirect Koch’s corner kick into the back of the net.
Prokof said that the developed chemistry between she and Koch is one factor that has triggered the Frogs’ recent success on offense.
When play resumed after halftime, Prokof picked up where she left off by burying a shot from 15 yards out past Central Arkansas senior goalie Lyndzey Goff, who replaced freshman Kaitlyn Keith at the half, to secure Prokof’s first collegiate hat trick.
Prokof’s three goals give her six in the year and the team-lead in that category.
TCU head coach Eric Bell said he was pleased with the entire team’s performance, and especially happy with his star freshman’s career day.
“For her and all the freshmen I think it has been difficult with the preseason, getting used to college level play and dealing with classes,” Bell said of Prokof’s recent development. “I think there was a period, probably the third weekend, we were a little tired and I think that showed a couple games.
Prokof also scored the Frogs’ goal against Denver, giving her all four goals on the weekend for TCU.
A stout effort by TCU junior goalie Vittoria Arnold and the rest of the veteran TCU defense limited the Bears’ opportunities as Central Arkansas only managed seven shots, giving Arnold her second clean sheet of the season.
Prokof’s hat trick is the first for a TCU player since Jordan Calhoun scored three goals against Stephen F. Austin in 2009.
The Horned Frogs improved their record to 4-4-2 after tying No. 14 Denver 1-1 in double-overtime on Friday and the victory today.
The Frogs begin conference play on Friday when they travel to Austin to take on the University of Texas Longhorns. The match kicks off at 7 p.m. at Mike A. Myers Stadium.