Beach: TCU hosts HBU in fall exhibition Sunday
Nov. 2, 2017
FORT WORTH -- In its first three years, the TCU beach volleyball team went from zero wins in its inaugural season to 18 wins in back-to-back years, while finishing No. 13 in the national polls for the first time in school history last year.
There is plenty to build on for second-year TCU beach coach Hector Gutierrez and the Horned Frogs as they prepare for their fourth season.
"I think a lot of our success last year came from being the underdogs. No one expected us to be ranked and to come out and beat top-10 teams like we did," said TCU junior Molly Scheel. "We really bought into the feedback Hector gave us and figured out how we could separate ourselves from other teams -- playing and culture wise.
"We are expecting to do the same thing this year. Our main goal is to make it to the NCAA Tournament, and I think we have what it takes."
The Horned Frogs (18-8) won 10 of their last 11 matches last year and posted wins over ranked opponents Georgia State (No. 10), Florida International (No. 13) and Florida Atlantic (No. 14) during that stretch.
"I think we have been working really hard, and we have been doing a lot of things from Day One," Gutierrez said. "It's too early to see where we're at because it's only November, but it seems like they know what the coach wants and what our goals are as a team. I think they also understand what it takes to be in the national championships. That's a huge step for us."
In all, the Frogs had five wins over nationally ranked teams a season ago.
"Our team chemistry and team dynamic has been awesome, and I think it will carry us to success into the season," TCU senior Jillian Bergeson said. "I'm excited for others to see how talented our program is when game time comes next year."
The Horned Frogs, who competed in a fall tournament with such teams as LSU, Georgia State, Tulane and Florida State in Gulf Shores, Alabama, last week, will close out their fall schedule at home Sunday at noon at the TCU Beach Courts with an exhibition match with Houston Baptist.
"It's going to be very exciting to be back playing on our home courts. I love the energy that all the fans bring. We have an atmosphere like no other team does playing at home," Scheel said. "Our main goals are to go out there and have fun and really get better in everything we do, and if things aren't going our way, figure out something that we can change during the game and keep it consistent."
"These early matches are when many feel more comfortable to take risks and see the success in trying new skills we've been training for," she said. "Winning and losing is crucial in any game to an extent, and I think these scrimmages play a valuable lesson because you have the ability to go out and grow as an athlete, work on new things and to continue to strive to be a better player."
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