The TCU women’s soccer team was scoreless in its season opener Friday night with a 0-1 loss to the Rice Owls at Garvey-Rosenthal Stadium.Head coach Dan Abdalla said the team, which includes eight freshman and 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 giving them instruction, helping them out and being active and involved themselves.”
The crowd of 1,216 cheered loudly at the first regular season game, 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 are huge amounts of crowds. People can come after school, as opposed to still being in school for the previous 4 p.m. Friday games, so there’s a lot more of a community supporting us.”
TCU prepared for the Rice match by doing on-field drills for two weeks prior to the game. Before that time, preparation included voluntary daily workouts with strength and conditioning, which a large number 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.”
The Rice Owls finished second last year in Conference USA, but Johnson said the Horned Frogs did not approach the team 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 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.