VB Preview: West Virginia

Sept. 27, 2016

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MORGANTOWN, W. Va. - Looking to start the Big 12 season 3-0 for the first time in program history, the TCU volleyball team is on the road for the second straight match as they travel to Morgantown, W. Va., to face West Virginia on Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 5 p.m., CT, inside the WVU Coliseum.

The Horned Frogs (9-3, 2-0 Big 12) are coming off a 3-2 victory over Iowa State for the program's first win in Ames, while the Mountaineers (9-6, 1-1 Big 12) swept Texas Tech on Saturday for the team's first Big 12 win since 2014.

Quick Hits
-The 2016 season marks the 21st season in the history of the TCU Volleyball program
-This season also marks the second under the helm of alumni and Director of Volleyball Jill (Pape) Kramer
-Kramer (1996-99) was the first scholarship volleyball player on the inaugural team in 1996 and still holds the single-season and career school records in kills and total attacks
-TCU returns 10 letterwinners and five starters from a season ago and also welcome nine newcomers, including three transfers
-91% of the offense returns for the 2016 season along with 95% of the defense at the net in blocking
-The squad includes seven seniors this season including All-American Ashley Smith and AVCA All-Southwest Region honorees Regan McGuire and Natalie Gower
-Smith, who has led the team in kills per set the last three seasons, was named to the Preseason All-Big 12 team for the second straight season
-Two other key returners are Sarita Mikals and Jillian Bergeson who spent their springs honing their skills on the beach courts
-The Frogs have great offensive depth which means a 6-2 will be in play again with Kaylee Smith and Lamprini Konstantinidou guiding the offense
-TCU brought in a stud of a freshmen class which was ranked for the first time in program history by Prepvolleyball.com by coming in at No. 15
-Mikals recently broke the school record for digs in a single match as the senior picked up 36 in the five-set come back against Duke on Sept. 2
-In its final preseason match of the season, TCU downed No. 8 North Carolina with the win marking the second top-10 win in program history and second straight season the team has achieved that feat
-TCU has a very balanced offensive attack with five players currently averaging over 2.00 kills per set
-The Frogs are 2-0 in Big 12 action for only the second time in program history and the first time since 2012
-The win over Iowa State in Ames marked the first in program history for TCU as the team moved to 4-0 on the season in five-set matches
-Mikals became the sixth player in program history and the first under the helm of Kramer to score a triple-double with 10 kills, 10 digs and 10 blocks

Last Time Out: Iowa State
The defense at the net came through for the TCU volleyball team as they scored a 3-2 (24-26, 25-16, 25-20, 17-25, 15-11) victory over Iowa State on Sunday night inside the Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

The win by the Horned Frogs was the first in program history over the Cyclones in matches played in Ames, as TCU moves to 4-0 on the season in fifth-set matches. TCU outhit Iowa State with 66 kills to the home team's 64 while also serving up a season-high eight service aces and recording 12.5 blocks in the match.

After letting the first set slip away, TCU rebounded by controlling sets two and three from the very beginning to go up 2-1 in the match. Iowa State would not go away quietly as they came back in the fourth set to push the decisive fifth set. The Cyclones would take a 3-1 advantage to start the final set, but TCU won four straight points to go up 5-3. The teams traded points until a service error by Iowa State started a 5-0 run that included two blocks by Natalie Gower to secure the 15-11 win.

Scouting the Opponent: West Virginia
West Virginia enters the match after scoring their first win since 2014 in Big 12 action with a 3-0 sweep at Texas Tech. The Mountaineers opened Big 12 play with a four-set loss to No. 5 Texas last Wednesday.

Leading the way is a freshman as Payton Caffrey is putting down 4.95 kills per set which is ranked No. 2 in the conference and No. 6 nationally. Caffrey also ranks in the top-10 nationally in points per set with 5.57. Caffrey has also served up a team-best 22 service aces tis season which is ranked No. 2 in the Big 12.

Defensively, West Virginia boasts the second best blocking team in the league as they are posting 2.49 blocks per set while Mia Swanegan is putting down 1.40 blocks per set. Gianna Gotterba is anchoring the backrow for the Mountaineers with 4.15 digs per set to go along with nine service aces.



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