The new TCU Athletics year opened with an exciting matchup between the Horned Frogs’ women’s soccer team and the defending national champions and preseason No. 1 Florida State. Although TCU ended up dropping that one, the beginning of this new year has been filled with excitement and promise from the soccer and volleyball programs as they, along with football, have helped the Frogs to a combined 7-1 record across the three sports.
In their opening match with the Seminoles, TCU looked like a team ready to compete, and they managed to put a few scares into Florida State; however, the Seminoles dominated possession and outshot the Frogs 21-3, although only 6 were on target. TCU lost that game 2-0, but since have surged, winning three consecutive games, each one a shutout. They responded on opening weekend by going to UAB and winning 2-0 after senior Tara Smith opened the scoring for the new season and freshman Gracie Brian notched her first career goal in the purple and white.
Following their opening weekend road trip, TCU welcomed Sam Houston State to Fort Worth for the home opener by dominating the Bearkats 6-0. The match was never in doubt as the Frogs scored both in the 12th and 13th minutes of the game and never looked back. TCU outshot Sam Houston 34-2 (!!!) and Gracie Brian added career goals Nos. 2 and 3, continuing her blistering start. The other four goals came from sophomore Messiah Bright (2), junior Yazmeen Ryan, and sophomore Maddy Warren, who were the three leading returners in terms of scoring.
After their home opener, the Frogs traveled across the metroplex to take on then-No. 25 in SMU in a rivalry game that was a defensive battle. The Mustangs outshot TCU 16-7, but a clinical finish from Brian in the box and a phenomenal performance from junior goalkeeper Emily Alvarado (8 saves) led the Frogs to a 1-0 victory in Dallas.
Thanks to their impressive performances this past weekend, both Brian and Alvarado earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors: Freshman of the Week (Brian) and Defensive Player of the Week (Alvarado). The strong start and road victory over a ranked team have also vaulted the Frogs into the Top 25 of the United Soccer Coaches poll at No. 24. TCU will put their new ranking on the line this coming weekend as they host Little Rock (1-3-1) tonight at 7pm (FSSW+) and Ohio State (0-2-1) on Sunday at 7pm (FSSW).
Inside the Rickel, the TCU Volleyball team got their season underway this past weekend, hosting High Point, Lipscomb, and Villanova as part of the Cowtown Classic. The Frogs opened with High Point and secured a 3-0 victory after two closely contested opening sets. TCU also came away with a sweep of Lipscomb as the three sets were competitive, yet never really in doubt. The first main challenge of the weekend came against Villanova, who managed to take the second set from the Frogs, but TCU responded to win the match 3-1.
A trio of talented freshmen led the way for volleyball this weekend as Irem Uçar, McKenzie Nichols, and Audrey Nalls all contributed impressive performances for the Frogs in their first career action. Nalls led the team in kills this past weekend with 35, including 20 in the victory over Villanova. Uçar and Nichols, both setters, led TCU in assists with 54 and 39, respectively.
An important note on volleyball is that they navigated their opening weekend’s matches without sophomore élan McCall, a member of the All-Big 12 First Team in her freshman campaign - adding her to the rotation should only make TCU even better.
The competition will pick up this weekend as the Frogs welcome Colorado State (RV), Florida Atlantic, and No. 22 Florida State to the Rickel for the Fight in the Fort. TCU takes on Colorado State on Friday at 6pm (FSSW+), Florida Atlantic on Saturday at 3pm (FSSW), and Florida State on Sunday at 1pm.
Should the Frogs go undefeated once again this weekend, they will almost surely move into the Top 25 next week after moving up in the receiving votes section this past week (10 votes to 37).