TCU volleyball coach Prentice Lewis listened to her Horned Frog players brag about how hard they practiced and competed against each other during the summer.
But in the Frogs' first game of the season, it became clear that the players still needed to learn how to play against other teams.
"It was a huge learning curve for us as a team," Lewis said. "We started off the first match majorly under-prepared to play in a lot of ways. It was a calamity of communication errors."
TCU lost that game against Northern Colorado 21-25, 23-25, 25-18, 20-25 in Nashville on Friday.
The Frogs (2-1) bounced back to sweep Alabama A&M and Belmont on Saturday.
"Every set over there I watched them get better and better," Lewis said. "The team was clicking by the end of the weekend. We still aren't at full potential. Two weeks isn't enough time."
TCU will have to keep improving to get ready for a tough Big 12 schedule. The Frogs will try to show their coach they have taken another positive step against difficult competition this weekend in the TCU Nike Invitational in Fort Worth.
"We've been working on our communication all week," Lewis said. "This isn't going to be an easy weekend for us at all. The teams we are playing are pretty good. It's good for the team to develop."
The Frogs will play SMU at 7 tonight at the TCU University Rec Center in a game that is always close because of the schools' rivalry. TCU plays Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and a veteran Army team Saturday.
"We have to win outside of conference, get as many wins as we can," Lewis said. "Our team needs to come out and really go after our opponents."
The TCU women's soccer team has a tough weekend ahead. The Horned Frogs (1-1-1) are in Houston to play Rice tonight and will take on Nevada at home Sunday.
"Rice is going to be a difficult game, presenting some challenges for us," TCU coach Eric Bell said. "Rice's goalkeeper is very confident right now. We are going to have to do a good job of creating scoring chances and then converting them against her. They have some special players we have to pay attention to. It is tough to play Nevada two days later. You have to manage the team so we play at a high level both games."
The Frogs' last outing was a 2-0 loss to Stephen F. Austin at home.
"I think we are still learning our overall understanding of how we want to defend and attack," Bell said. "It's still a bit of a work in progress. I want to see growth every day and every game in those areas."
After the Nevada game Sunday, TCU will have four days to prepare for its rivalry game against SMU on Sept. 7.
"We have a team that is hungry and wants to win to prove people wrong," Bell said. "I still need to see us have good defensive organization and creativity in our attack. We need to value the ball when we have it, create some scoring chances."
Cross country ranked
The TCU women's cross country team will start its season today at the Bear Twilight Invitational in Waco ranked No. 5 in the South Central region by the USTF Cross Country Coaches Association, the highest preseason mark in program history.
Agnes Kemboi will lead the Frogs in a 4K race starting at 7 tonight. The men, running a 6K, will follow. Baylor, Texas A&M and SMU are some of the top teams attending the meet.
Men's golf No. 20
Golfweek released its preseason college rankings, and TCU was listed at No. 20. The Frogs, who return their top four players, will begin a short fall schedule next week.
Brent Shirley, 817-390-7760