2015 Review: The Start of the Kramer Era
Jan. 12, 2016
FORT WORTH, Texas – The first year under the theme of “A New Era” has come to a close and Director of Volleyball Jill Kramer has certainly put the TCU volleyball program on a path to success with everything that was accomplished in the 2015 season.
After wrapping up the 2015 season with an appearance in the NCAA Championship for only the second time in program history and a 19-10 overall record and a program-best 9-7 record in Big 12 action, the team has certainly laid the foundation for a program that is only going up.
“The main focus of our season was building our team culture by maintaining daily habits that we want to live by and create a foundation for our program,” Kramer said. “Our team did a great job of staying focused on this process and it seemed to pay off on and off the court. Our student-athletes improved their performance both on the court and in the classroom this semester.
“Our players finished the season hungry for more. There were many of them working out on their own the morning after our match against Hawaii. They aren't satisfied with when we finished, but are excited about the steps we are taking forward.”
We Are Going Dancing!
TCU faced a tough opponent in then-No. 7 Hawaii, who entered the match on a 21-match winning streak and was the best blocking team in the country with 3.30 blocks per set. The Frogs did not back down and took a 2-1 lead in the match, but the Rainbow Wahine did not falter and barely won the final two frames to secure the win and move on in the championship.
RPI – Making the Climb
Hooking the Longhorns
“(Assistant Coach) Brian (Wright) did a great job of preparing our team for each opponent,” Kramer said. “Our players did a great job of executing their blocking assignments from match to match. We made a lot of changes in our blocking technique and blocking system this year, so it was nice to see the players hard work pay off. For Regan (McGuire) and Natalie (Gower) to play every set of the season and put up the numbers that they did is pretty amazing.
McGuire & Gower: The 1-2 Punch
McGuire and Gower’s junior campaigns will also go down in the TCU record books as some of the best blocking performances in program history. The 1.54 blocks per set posted by McGuire shattered the single-season school record, while Gower’s 1.27 blocks per set puts her at No. 3. McGuire was able to record 157 total blocks this season, which sits at No. 3 in the record book and Gower was able to collect 130 total blocks for No. 5 in school history.
Give It Up For the Rookie
After becoming a starter on Oct. 7 against Oklahoma, Martin put down 91 kills, 2.12 kills per set, a .283 hitting percentage and 0.93 blocks per set. This season, Martin garnered two Big 12 Rookie of the Week honors and set numerous career-highs. Martin was also honored by being one of five freshmen in the Big 12 unanimously selected for the All-Freshmen Team.
The Seniors Leave Their Legacy
“More than anything else, our seniors did an outstanding job of building our culture,” Kramer said. “They were a lot of fun to coach because they understood how important it was for them to have a trusting relationship with our staff in order to build and maintain our culture. They should be very proud of the impact they have had on our volleyball program.”
Heist will become a three-sport athlete at TCU, as she will spend her final semester on the TCU women’s golf team. The El Paso, Texas native spent four years on the indoor team, as well as one season playing beach volleyball. Heist finished her career with 2,182 assists and became only the sixth person in TCU history to eclipse the 2,000 assist mark. Her assist total puts her at No. 6 in the TCU record book. From her freshman season until earlier this year, Heist appeared in 103 consecutive matches, which puts her at No. 8 all-time in program history.
Pickens will leave TCU as one of the most efficient hitters in program history. The lefty is the record holder in single match hitting percentage after putting down 10 kills on 10 swings with no errors for a perfect 1.000 hitting clip against Grambling State on Sept. 5, 2014. Pickens became only the fourth player in Big 12 history to accomplish the feat and first since 2012.
After transitioning to libero in her sophomore season, Sunstrum has been a stud from the backrow and will leave her name etched in the TCU record book. In the match against Tulane in 2015, Sunstrum became the 10th player in TCU volleyball history to eclipse 1,000 digs in her career and after finishing with 1,227 digs in her career, Sunstrum sits No. 4 in the TCU record books. In the single match portion of the TCU record book, Sunstrum will have her name etched seven times in the dig categories as her career-high 32 digs against UTEP last season ranks No. 6 in program history. In 2013, Sunstrum recorded six service aces against Grambling State, which also ranks No. 6 in a single match in the record books.
TCU finished the season ranked No. 35 nationally and No. 4 in the conference in attendance with 19,164 fans having walked through the doors. The Horned Frogs averaged 1,742 fans at matches in 2015 and since moving to the Rec Center in 2003, TCU has posted a 130-57 record (.695).
Let’s Go Streaking!
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