2001 Volleyball Outlook
July 13, 2001
Improvement was the name of the game last season, as the VolleyFrogs finished 15-18 (6-10 in WAC) -- both school bests. The Frogs of 2001 look to continue that trend and hope to finish with their best season and conference records ever. The team, which lost only two seniors, will have to make the improvements in a new and unfamiliar league as TCU moves to Conference USA (C-USA) beginning in the fall of 2001.
C-USA has worked to become a tough volleyball league in its own brief existence. In 2000, the league sent four teams -- Cincinnati, Houston, Louisville and South Florida -- to the NCAA tournament. With the stiff competition in their new league, the Frogs will need to be ready to play and up for a challenge each time out.
Head coach Sandy Troudt looks at the Frogs' entry into the unchartered territory of C-USA as one more challenge for the Frogs. What lies ahead for the 2001 season is fairly unknown. "There is a great deal of balance and parity among the C-USA teams. The variety of styles among the league is something that we have not dealt with before in conference play," says Troudt.
The schedule that TCU plays is not an easy one. According to Troudt, "We're going to play an aggressive schedule again this year because it's the best way to improve our team."
The team itself has a unique make-up. Five seniors and five freshmen make up the edges of the program, while sandwiched in the middle are the other four members of the squad -- two juniors and two sophomores. In order for the growth of TCU volleyball to continue, the underclassmen will have to learn to take on leadership roles.
The Frogs will continue to look for leadership both on and off the court this season from senior Allison Lynch. Lynch has proven to be able to emotionally lead the team as well as provide game-time leadership. There will also be expectations on senior Rachel Shirley and junior Stephanie Watson. All three players have strong, positive leadership skills according to Troudt.
Marci King, who holds single season records for kills, kills per game, total attacks, digs, digs per game, aces, and aces per game, will be looked to for on-court direction. King has one of the best serves in the program and is a good blocker. She will have to step up this season, though, and continue to work on her left-side hitting to become the best she can be.
Allison Lynch, who is a leader for the Frogs, will continue to play middle blocker #1. Lynch is intuitive, highly competitive and understands her role in TCU volleyball. She will be pushed, for the first time in practice, by the incoming freshmen.
Jennifer Sebastian is coming into her own entering the 2001 season. She made great strides in her physical training during the spring season, and her game has shown improvement as well. Sebastian, like many of the seniors, will be pushed this season and won't be content to sit on the bench.
The fifth senior, Rachel Shirley, will have to work hard to keep her defensive specialist role. Shirley has played a variety of positions while at TCU -- a testament to her strong work ethic. She's grown into her role as a leader during her time as a Frog.
Cuca, originally recruited as a non-scholarship player, has earned one with her consistent, tough play during her time at TCU. She is an excellent ball-handler with strong passing and ball control skills. Cuca loves the game itself--she coaches camp and has a fiery competitive spirit.
Watson, an outside hitter, is working to make the move to outside hitter #1. She's improved her blocking, defensive skills and ball control. Watson is a strong leader for the Frogs, and she continues to take a more active role in that position.
After a frustrating fall campaign, Courtney Beach is making her move. Beach, currently a middle blocker, is learning the outside hitter #1 and #2 positions. She is incredibly strong and has a good serve.
A Texas Girls' Coaches Association All-Star Shannon Brown will play middle blocker. Brown is extremely competitive, and is a player who puts the team first. She is considered TCU's top recruit in the program's history.
Amber Buehler, another non-scholarship player for the 2001 season, plays defensive specialist. She is not scared of hard work, and it is hoped that she will provide help to the Frog defense.
Amber Sims has the personality and tools to become a leader for the Frogs. She will play either middle blocker or outside hitter. Sims has great ball control and is a very physical player.
The one international athlete on the team is Dominika Szabo. Szabo, the #1 junior player in Hungary, has been recruited to play outside hitter. She was invited to train with the Hungarian national team. Her different style of training will bring a new perspective to TCU volleyball.
With a combination of a strong incoming freshman class and an experienced core of veterans, the future looks bright for the 2001 VolleyFrogs.