Clark, Waggle explode as volleyball steals one in Lubbock

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Setter McKenzie Nichols (14) put down the block that sealed the win for TCU on Sunday. Photo courtesy of GoFrogs.com

Middle blocker Katie Clark and outside hitter Ashley Waggle combined for 40 kills, as TCU (1-3) volleyball prevailed 3-2 over Texas Tech (2-2) in what was an all-out battle in Lubbock.

“It was nice to see our team battle with a great Texas Tech team today,” head coach Jill Kramer said.  “They were determined to leave Lubbock with a win, and they were relentless in their effort to get it.”

Clark (21) and Waggle (19) both set career highs in kills, as the Frogs needed every one of their season-high 67 to top the Red Raiders to earn their first Big 12 win of the year. 

Ironically, Clark’s previous career-high of 20 came exactly one year earlier on October 6, 2018, against Texas Tech as well.

Though TCU had their highest kill total since September 7, 2018, it was defense that stole the victory in the end. TCU had 10 blocks as a team in the contest, and setter McKenzie Nichols’ third block of the day put the Red Raiders away for good in the fifth.

Nichols also totaled 59 assists in the win, the most in TCU history by a first-year player in the 25-point set, rally scoring era.

“McKenzie [Nichols] ran the offense well and did a great job giving our attackers good opportunities to score,” Kramer said.

Continuing the trend of Frogs setting career-highs on the day, middle blocker Sarah Langs set career highs in blocks (10.0) and points (12.5), while tying her career high in kills (seven).

Entering the game 0-3 in conference play, the Frogs started with something to prove, opening the first set on a 10-3 run. Texas Tech would come back strong, though, tightening up on defense and winning the set 25-21.

The second set went back-and-forth until the score was tied at 19.  Three kills from Waggle helped TCU dominate the final moments of the set and tie the match at 1-1 with a 25-21 win. 

This would not be the last time in the match that TCU would win six of the final eight points to take a set.

The Frogs kept their momentum going in the third set. After Texas Tech took an early 8-6 lead, Clark lead TCU on a 9-0 run, with four kills coming from her alone during that span.  The Frogs finished with a season-best 19 kills in the set, winning 25-17.

Texas Tech rebounded in the fourth, using a dominate 16-4 run to win the set 25-18 and sent the game into a fifth.

In the fifth set, both teams flexed their offensive muscles, using short runs to take quick leads. After Texas Tech earned a match point up 14-13, TCU would keep them from scoring again. An ace from defensive specialist Dani Dennison put the Frogs up 15-14, and Nichols’ block stole the win.

Dennison produced two of TCU’s six aces on the day.  She and libero Berklie Baker combined for 30 digs in the victory.

After struggling from the service line all year, the Frogs recorded eight service errors in the match at a rate of 1.6 errors per set, their lowest of the season.

Outside Audrey Nalls continued her excellent first-year campaign with 13 kills on a .296 hitting clip.

It doesn’t get any easier for TCU from here, as after their bye on Wednesday, they will face the No. 1 Baylor Bears at home on Saturday, Oct. 12.  First serve inside the Rickel is scheduled for 1 p.m.