Team faces ranked foe in Austin

The football team will not be the only squad to make the trip down I-35 in the next week. The soccer team will open its season against the No. 9 University of Texas Longhorns in Austin, today.On Sunday afternoon, the team will return to Fort Worth for its home opener against the Utah State Aggies at Garvey-Rosenthal Stadium.

Senior forward Lesley Parkinson said the team is not intimidated by facing UT.

“I don’t think it matters that much about the opponent you’re playing,” Parkinson said. “If we come out there and just play how we know we can play, we should have a chance against them.”

Because it is the opening weekend, scouting reports on UT and Utah State were unavailable. The lack of information has not affected the Frogs’ preparation for what the team hopes will be strong non-conference matches, head coach Dan Abdalla said.

“We’re going to go out there and play our style and make teams adjust to what we’re doing,” Abdalla said. “It’s not going to make a difference if we’re playing the No. 1 team in the country or the No. 300 team in the country, we’re going to approach everybody the exact same way.”

With 11 freshmen, the players have had to learn to make adjustments to mesh their playing styles. In its Aug. 22 exhibition match against Stephen F. Austin State University, the team attempted just two first-half shots, but were able to pepper the goal line with 13 shots in the second half.

The Horned Frogs will also have a new starter in goal Friday. Sophomore Kelsey Vross beat out two other candidates for the position vacated by Katy Buchanan, who has graduated, Abdalla said.

Kelly Faerber, a sophomore midfielder, said a successful season means getting back to basics: score more goals than you allow. In 2006, the Frogs scored 19 times but allowed 25 goals.

Abdalla said as the squad shores up its defense, the offense will start to see what it can do.

“The better we get defensively, the more confidence we’re going to have offensively”, Abdalla said.

Abdalla said he and his team want to fight for a Mountain West Conference title – a goal he said is achievable.

“That’s the great thing about our conference,” Abdalla said. “There are some really good teams, but everybody has a chance. Everybody has the potential to be dangerous in conference.”

Today’s match against UT is at 7 p.m, and the home opener against Utah State starts at 1 p.m. Sunday.