Horned Frogs to open exhibition slate on Wednesday

Senior Lauren Pope returns in 2007.

Senior Lauren Pope returns in 2007.

Aug. 21, 2007

FORT WORTH, Texas - The TCU soccer team will open its season this week with two exhibition contests against Stephen F. Austin and Oklahoma State.

With the return of 84 percent of its scoring and a high number of impact newcomers ready to contribute, the TCU women's soccer program has its sights set on post-season play after a one year absence.

The Horned Frogs return eight starters from last season's 6-8-4 squad and anxiously await the return of seniors Angie Nickens, who missed the entire 2006 season with an injury and Lauren Pope, who despite missing the final 11 games with a leg injury was TCU's second-leading scorer with four goals last fall.

"We expect a lot from our returners," said Head Coach Dan Abdalla. "I think for us it's a matter of just getting better. We have the talent to be able to compete for a conference championship, but it's going to be a matter of our youth and leadership combining for us to be able to do that."

TCU's recruiting class, which was ranked 40th in the nation by Soccer Buzz Magazine last spring, has the potential and the background to play early and often in 2007 and many of the newcomers could play significant roles in TCU's quest for a championship.

The foward position looks to once again be promising for the Horned Frogs as leading goal-scorer Lizzy Karoly returns following a fantastic freshman season. She led TCU with six goals scored and totaled 14 points.

Fellow sophomore Chelsea White also returns upfront. The Mansfield, Texas, native was third on the team in shots taken last fall with 29 and will look to up her goal total from a year ago. Also back is steady senior leader Lesley Parkinson, who will be asked to provide leadership to an otherwise young frontline.

With the addition of freshmen midfielders, Kaylie Garcia, a Top-150 recruit by Soccer Buzz and Chelsea Cody, the Horned Frogs will have a talented, but once again youthful front line with only one upperclassman.

In the middle of the field, TCU returns plenty of talent in Lauren Pope, Angie Nickens and Michelle Nguyen to wreak havoc on opposing defenses.

With both Pope and Nickens returning from injuries last fall, TCU will have two veteran players that know the game well and will be hungry to score once on the field.

Nguyen returns for her second year in the program and will look to continue her dominate play on the pitch after spending the early part of the summer competing at the USASA National Camp in Carson, Calif.

Plenty of young talent will roam the middle of the field for the Horned Frogs as at least 10 freshman or sophomores could see playing time.

Even though the Horned Frogs lost four-year defensive standouts Karissa Hill and Breanne Kaldheim to graduation, TCU is in good shape with both Caroline Starns and Sara Schneider on the back line.

Starns, a junior from Arlington, returns after collecting Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors for her play against then No. 1 Notre Dame. Fellow junior Schneider will look to steadily improve her game as she once again will be called upon to lead the Horned Frogs' last line of defense.

The Horned Frogs will have to rely on a new starting goalkeeper with the graduation of three-year starter Katy Buchanan. TCU will look to either sophomore Kelsey Vross, who posted a shutout against Texas-San Antonio last fall or Arlington native and redshirt freshman Kadye Bowman, who was an all-district selection at Arlington High School. Incoming freshman Kelsey Walters could also play into the mix after a successful high school career at Putnam City North High School in Oklahoma City, Okla.

TCU will open its regular season Aug. 31 against nationally ranked Texas.



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