Volleyball falls in hard-fought battle with Florida Atlantic, 3-2

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TCU dropped their closest match of the season 3-2 to FAU in the second game of the Fight in the Fort Tournament. Photo by Caroline Durham.

After getting swept by Colorado State in their first match of the Fight in the Fort Tournament, TCU volleyball dropped a highly-contested match 3-2 to Florida Atlantic for their second loss of the weekend, 3-2.

First-years Audrey Nalls and Julia Adams combined for 31 kills and six blocks in the match.

The match was close from the beginning. The teams traded shots, with the score tied at 18 in the first set. TCU would take a late lead on back-to-back aces by middle blocker Afedo Manyang, but the Florida Atlantic offense would prove too strong for TCU in the end.

The Owls narrowly won the first set 25-23 to put the Horned Frogs behind in the match.

The second set started with another kill from Adams and the Frogs took the lead early. Defensive specialist Dani Dennison kept the Frogs ahead with her early back-to-back aces.

After the score was tied at 10, neither team held a lead of more than three points for the rest of the set. The contest was back-and-forth down to the wire, continuing past the 25-point mark.

Small mistakes were made on the TCU side of the net and the talented Owls would end up taking the set 31-29 to go up 2-0 on the match.

Despite their deficit, TCU would not go down without a fight. Nalls and Manyang paired up for a couple of blocks to put the Frogs up early in the third set.

This strong defensive play carried TCU to a 25-18 to give them life in the match. The Frogs held the Owls to just a .038 hitting percentage in the set.

Going into the fourth set, the Horned Frogs needed someone to pick up their energy after a long match. Middle blocker Sarah Swanson was the player for the job, hustling to balls from the get-go and stepping up when it was her turn to put one down.

With a quick set from Irem Ucar, Swanson put down a thunderous kill, shifting the momentum towards TCU once again.

The Frogs were diving on the floor and going for anything they could to keep themselves in the series.

Midway through the fourth set, Manyang took a bad step when landing from a hit and was taken out of the game. Coach Kramer summoned Sarah Langs as the middle hitter for the rest of the game for the Frogs.

Florida Atlantic put up a good fight, but TCU did just enough to pull off a 25-22 victory to tie the match at two sets apiece.

At this point, the student section was rattling the Rickel, and the Horned Frogs looked in the zone to get one more win against the Owls.

Florida Atlantic took a 5-1 lead early and never looked back. The Frogs were not able to put up enough offense to keep with the Owls, losing the set 15-10 and the match.

Florida Atlantic leads Conference USA in kills, with 99 in seven sets (14.14), and hitting percentage (.324).

The Frogs will finish off the Fight in the Fort tournament when they play the Florida State Seminoles at 1 p.m. on Sunday.