Freshmen lead soccer team to two victories

Freshman midfielder Katie Runyon dribbles past Ole Miss defender. Photo by Paige McArdle

Freshman midfielder Katie Runyon dribbles past Ole Miss defender. Photo by Paige McArdle

The soccer team remained unbeaten after two games during the three-day weekend.

The Frogs beat the Xavier Musketeers 3-0 Friday night and played to a 2-2 tie against the Mississippi Rebels to make the team’s record 2-0-1. Freshman forward Jordan Calhoun’s first of a two-goal performance Friday came unassisted in the 17th minute. She netted a second with two seconds remaining in the half with a swift chip into the bottom left corner of the net off a hard return header into the box from freshman defender Alex Mechalske.

“I’m on cloud nine right now,” Calhous said about her transition to collegiate soccer. “It’s awesome.”

Jackie Torda notched the Horned Frogs’ third goal in the ninth minute of the second half. Redshirt freshmen Katie Taylor tallied the assist off a restart kick from just inside midfield. Torda deflected the pass into the goal to put the Frogs up 3-0.

Despite the outcome, Xavier came out playing a very physical game, which included strong play from junior goalkeeper Kelly Farrell. Farrell was forced to stop three Horned Frog runs within the first 10 minutes of the match.

“We stayed relaxed and composed on the ball,” junior forward Lizzy Karoly said.

Head coach Dan Abdalla said his team was facing an unknown in Xavier.

“We didn’t know a lot about them,” Abdalla said. “We knew they would be excited because their coach is from down in this area, but we handled their energy coming out.”

The team saw more success in the return of Michelle Nguyen to the lineup. The junior was sidelined in the Horned Frogs’ first game against Stephen F. Austin because of injury. She came in during the middle of the first half Friday and found her stride taking free kicks and corner kicks.

“My teammates helped me out a lot showing to the ball and helping me out a lot,” Nguyen said. “It was easy for me to get back in.”

After 110 minutes of play, four goals and six cards Sunday, TCU tied the Mississippi Rebels 2-2. TCU started out on its heels, allowing Mississippi to mount a two-goal lead.

“We started out a little bit sluggish,” Abdalla said. “We weren’t being as aggressive offensively as we needed to be.”

The TCU scoring started when freshman midfielder Katie Runyon played a rebound off the crossbar into the net. Minutes later, Calhoun put away her fifth goal of the season to tie the game at two, assisted by Chelsea Cody.

“After that first goal, everyone just got pumped up and knew we could come back from this,” Calhoun said. “We had been working all throughout preseason for this moment.”

By coming back to earn the tie, the team showed Abdalla it has a lot of fight in it.

“It shows the character of the kids,” Abdalla said. “They were down and they didn’t call it in. We’ve really been creating a lot of good chances. It shows the growth we’ve had as a group.”