Volleyball Set to Face No. 2 Texas

Regan McGuire
Oct. 21, 2014

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FORT WORTH, Texas - The TCU volleyball team will wrap up the first half of Big 12 conference play by traveling to Austin, Texas to take on No. 2 Texas on Wednesday, Oct. 22 at Gregory Gymnasium. First serve is set for 7:05 p.m., with the match set to air live on the Longhorn Network.

Tyler Denning & Nell Fortner will be on the call for the match, as the Horned Frogs (12-9, 2-5 Big 12) are looking for their first win over the Longhorns (14-0, 6-0 Big 12) in program history. Texas enters the match as one of only four unbeaten teams left in the country and has only dropped six sets this year.

Fans unable to attend the match in Austin can see live stat updates through Texas.StatBroadcas.com, while a live audio feed will be available through FrogVision with a CBS Sports All-Access subscription with Jeff Lewis on the call.

TCU returns for the 2014 season after posting a winning record for the ninth time in the last 12 years under head coach Prentice Lewis in 2013.

2014 marks the 19th season in program history and the 13th under the helm of Lewis. 14 returners will be on the roster for the Horned Frogs, including five returning starters and the libero.

Under the tenure of Lewis, TCU has finished with a .500 record in nonconference play every year since 2002 and has garnered at least one preseason tournament title.

Ashley Smith has been a consistent leader for the Frogs this season and leads the team with 206 kills and 2.90 kills per set. Smith has led the team with double-digit kills in 11 matches and also has 164 digs on the season and 32 total blocks. Smith leads the team with five double-doubles on the season.

Stephanie Holland is following close behind and is helping shoulder the offensive load. Holland has 203 kills on the season, 2.74 kills per set and is shutting down at the net with 38 total blocks which is third on the team.

The Frogs once again a player ranked in the top 10 in hitting percentage for the Big 12, with Blaire Pickens sitting at No. 9 in the league with a .332 hitting. Pickens currently holds the school record with a perfect 1.000 hitting clip after going 10- for-10 against Grambling State earlier this year.

Trisha Langley is lethal from behind the service line and is ranked No. 2 in the Big 12 and No. 18 nationally with 0.48 aces per set. The Frogs sit atop the Big 12 in service aces with 1.47 per set and 112 total aces, which is good for No. 46 and No. 54, respectively, nationally.

TCU has been shutting down at the net the last few matches and has recorded 10 plus blocks in seven matches including four of the last seven and a season-high 16.0 against Iowa State.

Sutton Sunstrum has held down the backcourt for TCU despite missing a few matches with an injury and has recorded 203 digs and 3.90 digs per set which is ranked No. 5 in the Big 12.

Texas is one of four teams remaining in the nation with an undefeated record, as the Longhorns have only dropped six sets in the 14 matches they have played this season. The Longhorns have defeated four ranked teams this year, with the highest victory coming in a 3-2 defeat over No. 9 Nebraska.

In the last three matches, Texas was able to sweep all three opponents and has swept four of the six Big 12 opponents in league play. The Longhorns have only dropped three sets all season to teams ranked outside the top 25.

Two-time Big 12 Player of the Year Haley Eckerman is leading the offensive attack for the Longhorns with 2.91 kills per set, while fellow senior Khat Bell is averaging 2.42 kills per set and Amy Neal is chipping in 2.30 kills per set.

Texas is sitting at the top of the conference and are No. 8 in the country with 3.03 blocks per set, while three players are averaging over 1.00 blocks per set and are sitting in the top 10 of the conference in blocking - Molly McCage (3rd-1.31), Chiaka Ogbogu (5th-1.22) and Bell (10th- 1.00).

As well known for their blocking game this year, the Longhorns are also near the top in the nation in hitting percentage at .295. Ogbogu and McCage are ranked in the top 10 individually with Ogbogu at the No. 1 spot with a .417 clip and McCage checking in at No. 7 with a .340 hitting percentage.

This will be the eighth meeting all-time between the programs, with Texas winning all the meetings between the teams with a 7-0 record. The Frogs and the Longhorns first met in December 2009, when TCU competed in its first NCAA Championships in a second round matchup in Austin.

In the two matchups last year, Texas came to Fort Worth to start the series and were able to come away with a 3-0 sweep. TCU came down to Austin just over a month later and were able to snag a set from the Longhorns for the first time in program history and were on the verge of forcing a fifth set before ultimately falling 3-1.

First Meeting: 12/4/09 - Texas wins 3-0 (25-15, 25-14, 25-18)
Last Meeting: 10/30/13 - Texas wins 3-1 (25-14, 20-25, 25-15, 25-23)

Despite hitting above .250 and two newcomers finishing with career-high days, the TCU volleyball team dropped a 3-0 decision (25-17, 25-19, 25-19) to Kansas on Saturday afternoon in front of a sold out crowd at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center.

The Horned Frogs were able to get a double-digit kill match from Ashley Smith for the 11th time this season as the sophomore finished with a team-high 10 against the Jayhawks, while Mia Swanegan notched a career-high nine kills.

Sutton Sunstrum was able to lead the team in the back row by picking up 19 digs for 11th double-digit dig match of the season, while Skyler Flynn started the first match of her career and tied her career-high with seven digs.

Kansas had three players record double-digit kills, with Tayler Soucie leading the charge with 16 kills, while Sara McClinton chipped in 12 and Kelsie Payne finished with 10. Ainise Havili dished out a double-double of 45 assists and 11 digs, while Cassie Wait led all players with 20 digs.



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