Volleyball Travels for Tilt with Cyclones

Alexia Heist
Nov. 14, 2014

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FORT WORTH, Texas - The TCU volleyball team will wrap up its three-game road swing by traveling to Ames, Iowa to take on Iowa State on Saturday, Nov. 15 at 4 p.m., at the Hilton Coliseum.

After defeating Iowa State in four sets earlier this season at the University Recreation Center, the Horned Frogs (15-12, 5-7 Big 12) are hoping to take a series sweep of the Cyclones (14-9 6-6 Big 12) for the first time in program history and snap a three-match winning streak that they are riding.

The match will air live on Cyclones.TV with Karl Schloerke and Kyle Steingreaber on the call. Fans unable to attend the match in Ames can see live stat updates through Cyclones.com, while a live audio feed with Jeff Lewis on the call will be available through FrogVision with a CBS Sports All-Access subscription on GoFrogs.com.

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 tournament title.

Ashley Smith has been a consistent leader for the Frogs this season and leads the team with 279 kills and 2.94 kills per set. Smith has led the team with double-digit kills in 15 matches and also has 221 digs on the season and 40 total blocks. Smith leads the team with nine double-doubles on the season.

Stephanie Holland is following close behind and is helping shoulder the offensive load. Holland has 234 kills on the season, 2.66 kills per set and is shutting down at the net with 51 total blocks which is good for third on the team.

The Frogs once again have at least one player ranked in the top 10 in hitting percentage for the Big 12, with Regan McGuire checking in at No. 9 with a .318 clip. Blaire Pickens currently holds the school record with a perfect 1.000 hitting clip after going 10-for-10 against Grambling State earlier this year.

The Frogs sit near the top the Big 12 in service aces with 1.36 per set and 136 total aces. TCU has notched at least one service ace in every match this season except for two.

TCU has been shutting down at the net the last few matches and has recorded 10 plus blocks in 11 matches this season including eight of the last 13 and a season-high 16.0 against Iowa State. Mattie Burleson is ranked No. 7 in conference only matches with 1.22 blocks per set and fourth with 56 total blocks.

Sutton Sunstrum has held down the backcourt for TCU despite missing a few matches with an injury and has recorded 307 digs and 4.04 digs per set which is ranked No. 4 in the Big 12.

The TCU volleyball team had its three-match conference winning streak halted, as Baylor took a 3-1 (25-23, 20-25, 25-21, 25-23) victory on Wednesday night at the Ferrell Center.

Ashley Smith led the offensive effort for the Horned Frogs with 15 kills and completed her team-leading ninth double-double with 11 digs against the Bears. Blaire Pickens struck down double-digit kills for the fourth time this season with 10 on the night.

TCU recorded double-digit blocks as a team for the eighth time in conference play and 11th time this season, as Natalie Gower led the effort with four and Mattie Burleson, Stephanie Holland and Regan McGuire each chipping in three blocks.

Alexia Heist guided the offensive effort and dished out 35 assists to go along with 10 digs for fifth double-double of the season. Sutton Sunstrum recorded a match-high 22 digs for her fifth 20 plus dig match of the season.

Iowa State (14-9, 8-3 Big 12) is riding a three-match winning streak headed into Saturday's showdown with two of its three wins in the last 10 days coming against ranked opponents. The Cyclones were able to sweep then-No. 22 Kansas State and then hit the road and upset No. 24 Oklahoma in five sets.

Iowa State presents a very balanced offensive attack, with Ciara Capezio leading the way with 222 kills on the season and 3.08 kills per set. The Cyclones are also seeing a lot of offensive action from fellow outside hitters Victoria Hurtt (2.67 k/s), Mackenzie Bigbee (2.34 k/s) and Morgan Kuhrt (2.23 k/s).

In the middle, Iowa State is led by freshman Alexis Conaway who is averaging 2.16 kills per set for the Cyclones and 1.12 blocks per set. Conaway is ranked No. 7 in the conference in hitting percentage with a .321 clip, while her blocking lands her at No. 6 in the conference. Conaway has also picked up 13 service aces on the season and 65 digs.

Iowa State boasts the last six Big 12 Liberos of the Year and there may be another one, as Caitlin Nolan is ranked No. 1 in the conference and No. 3 nationally with 5.64 digs per set. Nolan also leads the team with 19 service aces.

With a season-high 16 team blocks and 10 service aces, the TCU volleyball team defeated Iowa State 3-1 (25-15, 18-25, 30-28, 25-16) for the first time in program history and picked up its first win in Big 12 Conference play this season at the University Recreation Center.

The Horned Frogs had four players notch double-digit kills for the first time in 2014, as Ashley Smith, Blaire Pickens and Regan McGuire all notched 11, while Sarita Mikals chipped in 10 against the Cyclones.

At the time, Mikals recorded her third double-double of the season by picking up a match-high and season-high 16 digs, while Sutton Sunstrum returned to the libero jersey and finished with 12 digs. Mattie Burleson tied her career-high with 10 total blocks, while McGuire picked up four blocks.

Alexia Heist and Trisha Langley paced the offense with 25 and 21 assists, respectively, while the duo combined for six service aces.

Iowa State and TCU started its series meeting only two years ago when the Frogs entered the Big 12. Iowa State won all four matchups the first two years in league action between the teams with three of the four wins coming in a sweep.

In the first matchup in conference play this season, TCU was able to stun the Cyclones by taking a 3-1 victory on its home court.

First Meeting: 9/29/12 - Iowa State wins 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-17)
Last Meeting: 9/27/14 - TCU wins 3-1 (25-15, 18-25, 30-28, 25-16)



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