After a 6-11 season, the Horned Frog soccer team is focusing on its future and learning from the past.TCU faced many new challenges during its 2005 campaign, including elevated competition in the Mountain West Conference, a new coach and three early and unexpected season-ending injuries to players anticipated to be key contributors.
First-year head coach Dan Abdalla, who came to the team in April, said he understands that the combination of having a new head coach and moving to a new conference can be difficult.
“The girls just need to get accustomed to what they see,” Abdalla said. “I think part of it may be their comfort level with me.”
Adding to the pressure, the Frogs’ schedule had the team playing six of seven conference contests on the visiting field. The team traveled to every new city except San Diego State.
Junior midfielder Karissa Hill, who was named a member of the second team all-conference squad, said that playing at places like Colorado State and Wyoming was especially challenging because of the altitude difference.
“It’s hard because (the altitude) is brand-new to us, ” Hill said. “We just have to get used to their style of play.”
Junior midfielder Angie Nickens said that while the team competed and executed fundamentals well in every game, the Oct. 21 win over Air Force, their first Mountain West victory, was their best performance.
Abdalla singled out the games against Pepperdine and Utah as examples of the team’s competitive spirit. The Utah game was a 1-0 loss after battling to a scoreless first half. Against Pepperdine, the Waves posted a 3-0 lead before the Horned Frogs got two unanswered goals from freshman K.D. Waters and senior Moran Lavi in the final ten minutes.
Also in her senior season, Bara Gunnarsdottir became the first Horned Frog in history to be named to ESPN The Magezine’s second-team Academic District six team.
Nickens said the team will be running and lifting weights three times a week through the end of the semester and will resume on-field drills in the spring. She said the team needs to work on quickness while moving with the ball to prepare for its second season in the MWC.
“We definitely have a better idea of how the teams will play next year,” Nickens said. “But we need to improve our quickness.”
New recruits do not sign until February, but Abdalla said he is optimistic about what next year’s class will bring to the team.
“It is a large, deep group with promising future, he said.