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TCU Soccer Preview: West Virginia

The undefeated TCU Soccer team plays for their first ever regular season conference championship this Friday.

After beating Oklahoma 1-0 last Friday, the TCU Women’s soccer team has climbed the polls to earn their highest ranking in program history coming in at #3. The Horned Frogs play 4th ranked West Virginia this Friday at Garvey-Rosenthal Stadium to decide the regular season Big 12 champion.

This one’s for all the marbles. TCU only needs a win OR a tie to claim their first ever regular season conference title, though if West Virginia wins, they win the conference.

“Our team has had to go through a lot this year,” said Head Coach Eric Bell. “It would be the icing on the cake to be able to win our first conference championship under these adverse conditions; it would be fantastic.”

Considering TCU came into this season projected to finish third in the Big 12, the Horned Frogs have more than lived up to their expectations. The Frogs are currently first in the conference standings with a 7-0-1 undefeated record.

Friday marks the 13th meeting between TCU and West Virginia, the Mountaineers lead series with a 9-1-2 record. We’re in for a great matchup considering both teams are playing at their highest level recently. TCU is currently on a seven-game win streak — the highest in program history — while on the other hand West Virginia has won their last five games after falling to Oklahoma State in double overtime earlier in the year.

I guess beating Oklahoma State in overtime just isn’t for everyone.

I wouldn’t be too shocked if we saw Friday’s matchup sent into overtime as well based on how well both squads are playing. Which might be good news for the Frogs considering they have a 13-3-12 record in their last 28 overtime games, dating back to 2016.

The Mountaineers are TCU’s third top 10 opponent of the year, going to show that even with a tough schedule, the Frogs have been able to earn important points all season.

Even though the Frogs haven’t struggled to score for the most part, the defense has been the highlight of the season. TCU has six shutouts through only eight games, and goalkeeper Emily Alvarado became the Horned Frogs all-time leader in shutouts after recording her 19th of her career against Oklahoma last week.

“Her [Alvarado] biggest jump this season has been her communication and leadership in the back, her ability to take things that typically would happen and make sure they don’t because of her communication,” said Bell.

One of my favorite lines from this week’s presser with Coach Bell: “They can’t score if they don’t have the ball.”

He hit the nail on the head with that one, the Frogs defense has controlled the tempo for the majority of their games this season allowing space to open up for the forwards.

Even though it’s important to focus on the moment, the Horned Frogs have already begun preparation for what next year will look like, as any top program should.

“Teams win 16-17 games, next season they win five. We don’t want to be one of those teams, we want to consistently challenge for a Big 12 championship, in the NCAA tournament, and making runs in the tournament,” said Bell. “Do I look past this season? I think we have to — it’s called recruiting and we are always looking at what kind of players we bring in, that can help us, play fun soccer, and win games.”

Consistency has already become the name of the game for Bell’s squad. The Horned Frogs made their first NCAA tournament appearance in 2016 under Bell, and have been there every year since.

The only thing missing from Bell’s TCU resume is a conference championship. Bell and the Horned Frogs soccer team finally get their opportunity against West Virginia.

Make sure to cheer on your Horned Frogs soccer team this Friday, November 6, at 7 p.m. CST. If you can’t make it out to Garvey-Rosenthal, no need to worry as the game will be broadcast on the ESPN+ Big 12 Now channel.

One more game, let’s do this!