This year’s TCU soccer team is frighteningly young.Of the 29 players on the roster, there are only three juniors and one senior. As a result, the first four games this season have been a learning experience for many players.Knowing that would be the case, coach Eric Bell made a point to kick off the year with a difficult schedule.TCU opened with a 3-0 loss at Washington State, followed by a 2-0 victory at Idaho. The Horned Frogs then opened at home with losses to Missouri and Central Florida.“I think that we needed to test ourselves against some of these good teams to find out where we’re at before we go into conference play,” Bell said. “To load up with a bunch of cupcakes, if you will, I don’t think that sets us up for success. We learned some things about ourselves the past couple of weekends, and we’ll continue to learn and learn from our lessons and do better.”Beginning the season on the road was also a benefit to the vast majority of players adjusting to the college life, junior midfielder Makenzie Koch said.“They didn’t have to play in front of a massive crowd first thing,” she said. “I think a lot of the girls got their nerves out in the first weekend, but I think it did help us grow. The road games are harder than the home games because you don’t have your fans and you have to deal with traveling.” Bell said he hopes to see his team find the formula to create scoring opportunities and for a quality finisher to step up. That will be done, he said, when his inexperienced squad learns to compete and discovers the will to win.“We have to learn how to win,” he said. “I think if there is any big-time theme, it’s about effort and learning how to win games that are challenging.”The Frogs host LSU on Friday and Abilene Christian on Sunday night at Garvey-Rosenthal Soccer Stadium.Volleyball rollingThe TCU volleyball team started its season with the bar set high, visiting defending national champion Penn State. The match didn’t go in the Horned Frogs’ favor, a 3-0 loss, but coach Prentice Lewis said there was plenty to learn from the experience that made it worthwhile.It’s all about entering big matches with bravado, she said.“When you have a chance to play those teams, like we will in Texas, we have to go in with absolutely no other thought than we’ll play our best game and there’s no stress in a match like that. It should just be pure excitement,” she said.TCU is 2-1 heading into the home-opening TCU Nike Invitational this weekend, with day-night doubleheaders Friday and Saturday at University Recreation Center.“The kids get to be engaged by their home fans instead of listening to what other teams fans have to say,” Lewis said. “I think they’re very excited about it, and they can’t wait for this weekend.”
Friday vs. LSU at 7 p.m.
Sunday vs. Abilene Christian at 7 p.m.
TCU Nike Invitational
Friday vs. Grambling State at 12:30 p.m.
Friday vs. Miami at 8 p.m.
Saturday vs. Prairie View A&M at 11 a.m.
Saturday vs. UALR at 7 p.m.