Soccer: Frogs drop first game of season to Owls

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    The TCU soccer team was held scoreless in its season opener Friday night, a 1-0 loss to the Rice Owls, at Garvey-Rosenthal Stadium.Head coach Dan Abdalla said the team, which includes eight freshman as well as six seniors, played tentatively the entire match and didn’t take advantage of its scoring chances.

    “For a young group as we have, they’ve got to recognize that you can’t just sit back,” Abdalla said. “And the older players need to do a better job at giving them instruction and helping them out and being active and involved themselves.”

    The crowd of 1,216 cheered loudly at the first regular season game under the lights, despite the fact that the Horned Frogs were never able to establish themselves as a force.

    “The atmosphere is completely different,” sophomore defender Courtney Johnson said. “There’s a huge amount of crowds. People can come after school as opposed to still being in school (for the previous 4p.m. Friday games.) So there’s a lot more of a community supporting us.”

    TCU had been preparing for the Rice match by doing on-field drills for the past two weeks. Prior to that time, preparation included voluntary daily workouts with strength and conditioning coach Joe Walker that large numbers of the players attended, sophomore defender Caroline Starns said.

    “It’s not a mandatory workout, but we’re pretty much always there,” Starns said. “We work out, we run, we lift like we would when two-a-days start. Coaches aren’t there because they aren’t allowed to be, but we push ourselves just like they are there.”

    Johnson said the Horned Frogs did not approach the Owls who finished second in Conference USA last year any differently than any other opponent and that positive thinking is important to a successful season.

    “Pretty much for every game it’s the same, you want to go out hard, you want to go out aggressive,” Johnson said. “You don’t want to fear anybody, but we want to respect everybody as well.”

    Starns is holding the team to high expectations, but ones that she thinks can be reached if the team works as a unit.

    “We have been working our tails off this month,” Starns said. “We worked hard last season, but I really think we are going to win a lot of games this year.