Frogs Survive Hurricanes in Five Sets
Sept. 5, 2014
FORT WORTH, Texas - Key rallies late in the match allowed the TCU volleyball team to pick up its fourth straight win and a 3-2 (25-23, 19-25, 25-17, 17-25, 15-12) victory over Miami in the final match on day one of the TCU Nike Invitational inside the University Recreation Center.
Ashley Smith and Stephanie Holland led the Horned Frogs (4-1) with 16 kills a piece over the Hurricanes (3-2), while Sarita Mikals came up big late in the match for TCU with nine kills. Smith also picked up 11 digs to complete her first double-double of the season, while Mikals was just short with 12 digs on the night.
Trisha Langley and Alexia Heist paced the offense for the Frogs with 23 and 22 assists, respectively, with Langley also leading the team from beyond the service line for the second straight match with five aces. Langley has now pushed her weekend service ace total up to 11 with two matches remaining in the invitational.
Sutton Sunstum got the start at libero for the fourth match this season and picked up her second 20 plus dig match, with 22 on the night. Sunstrum has now posted double-digit digs three times thus far this season.
The offense came out swinging in the opening set, with TCU not committing one hitting error for a .361 hitting percentage. The first set was a tight fight, as neither team could gain more than a two-point advantage. Tied for the 13th time in the set at 18-18, three straight kills from Holland, Mikals and Natalie Gower propelled the Frogs to a 21-18 lead. The Hurricanes would close the gap to one at 21-20, but that is as close as they would get with TCU taking the set 25-23 after a Miami service error.
The battle continued into the second set, as the teams continued right where they left off in the first set. Tied 7-7, a kill from Kelsie Groot, along with a 5-0 service run by Groot, gave Miami a three-point cushion at 11-8. Holland would strike down a kill and Mikals picked up an ace, before another service run by Miami stretched out the Hurricanes' lead to 16-11. TCU attempted to chip away at the lead, but it was not enough as Savannah Leaf put a kill down for a 25-19 win for Miami.
A quick 10 minute break was all TCU needed to come out with a bang in the third set. Langley got behind the service line and she could not be stopped, as she picked up three aces on her way to leading the team to a 9-0 lead. The Frogs continued to roll in the set and extended the lead to as much as 10, before ultimately taking the set 25-17 off a kill from Holland.
As easily as TCU got a lead in the third set, Miami responded right back for a 7-1 lead in the fourth, with the Hurricanes picking up three blocks in the process. The Frogs struggled offensively the entire set, with the team recording a negative hitting percentage for the first time this season. TCU could never overcome the early deficit and fell 25-17 in the set, as Miami forced a fifth a decisive set.
The teams quickly traded points at the start of the fifth, but then TCU found themselves in the hole after three kills from the Hurricanes for a 6-3 Miami lead. Out of a timeout, Holland found the court for the Frogs, but Miami was able to keep the distance and get an 8-6 lead at the side change. TCU did not back down, as Langley dumped the ball for a kill and Blaire Pickens and Regan McGuire put up a big block to tie the set at 8-8. The battle would continue until kills from Smith and Holland gave TCU its first two-point lead, 12-10. The Hurricanes closed the match within one two more times, but a crucial smack down from Mikals and one final put down from Holland sealed the set 15-12 and the match for TCU.
The Frogs continue play at the invitational with matches against Prairie View A&M at 11 a.m., and UALR at 7 p.m., on Saturday.
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