TCU freshman Maddy Warren had a moment to remember Sunday night, when the Los Angeles native made her first career collegiate goal a game winner in the 95th minute. The unassisted goal was so good, she got a big time shoutout on twitter from another well-known Frog freshman:
Warren’s heroics were just the latest for Eric Bell’s squad, a program that has started their 2018 campaign 5-0-1 with just three games remaining before Big 12 Conference play begins. The Frogs have three wins over Power Five programs and tied rival SMU, and will likely find themselves in the Top 25 of the DI Soccer Rankings when the updated poll is released this week.
Coach Bell’s team is winning games with a combination of aggressive offense, solid defensive play, and great goal-keeping. The Frogs are in the top ten of shots per game (22.60) and have a .889 save percentage. They also have excellent depth - 15 different players have started for Bell, with seniors Kayla Bell and Cachet Lue, sophomore Isabella Juarez, and freshmen Messiah Bright, Chaylyn Hubbard, and Peyton Crews the only to have been first on the pitch for all six games. Keepers Katie Lund and Emily Alvarado have split duties thus far in 2018, and have allowed just two goals against 40 saves to begin their junior and sophomore campaigns, respectively. This is a solid unit on all accounts, one that expects to build on their back to back NCAA Tournament appearances over the last two seasons after making it into the field for the first time ever in 2016. The Frogs have played in consecutive Big 12 Tournament Championship games as well, but looked primed to get over the hump and bring home some hardware this fall.
Bell has reason to be excited about his squad, and the mix of veteran experience and talented youth it boasts. He gave credence to that after TCU’s win at Missouri. “I think our quality showed as the game went on. We were doing what we do from a soccer perspective. We got a lot of young players into the game playing significant minutes which was good. To win a game that way and for it to be a freshman, I think the future bodes well for us.”
The future certainly does bode well for the Horned Frogs, a team that has the best home field advantage in the Big 12, and has now proven that they can win on the road, as well. That matters in a league where there are no easy wins. “I think It gives us confidence on the road to play like we did in a hostile environment and it being our first time on the road against power 5. We were able to weather the storm and to also show our quality was great. We were able to find a way to score a goal.”
The Frogs stay on the road for the next two contests, matching up with Arkansas-Little Rock on Friday and heading out west to play Santa Clara on Thursday September 13th. They return home for a matchup with the Butler Bulldogs on Sunday, September 16th, for their final tuneup before Big 12 play. The Frogs open their conference schedule against Iowa State on Friday, September 21st, before welcoming in reigning Big 12 champ West Virginia that Sunday. Be sure to get out and support one of the top programs in Fort Worth this fall!