Volleyball looks to get back on track after dominating West Virginia

0
391
Print Article
Outside hitter Ashley Waggle produced 11 kills for TCU in the sweep. Photo by Heesoo Yang

After losing six of their first seven conference games, TCU volleyball dominated West Virginia on Thursday night, sweeping the Mountaineers in the annual Spike out Cancer match.

The Frogs wore pink uniforms to honor and raise awareness for those who have battled with cancer.

“There’s these people out there who are fighting a battle that they don’t have any control over,” head coach Jill Kramer said.  “There’s a lot out there that’s bigger than the game going on right in front of you.”

The match marked TCU’s first sweep since they defeated Miami 3-0 Sept. 13 in the Add-Ran Cup.

The Frogs were electric on offense, producing 48 kills (a season-high for a three set match) on a .248 hitting percentage as a team.

Outside hitter Audrey Nalls led the way for TCU with 12 kills, but junior Ashley Waggle was right behind her with 11 of her own. Waggle finished with a hitting clip of .429.

“She’s [Waggle] one heck of a player,” setter McKenzie Nichols said.  “She has great leadership. She just makes everyone feel so comfortable on the court.”

The first set was competitive from the start; the largest lead either team held was four.  After struggling to produce much offensively to start conference play, TCU hit .357 as a team to go with 14 kills, overpowering West Virginia in the end for a 25-23 win.

Preseason All-Big 12 outside hitter élan McCall set a season-high with four kills on .571 hitting clip in the first set alone. After dealing with an injury to start the year, McCall played mostly on the back row in her seven matches prior to Thursday’s game.

The intensity grew in the second set. The Frogs continued to thrive offensively as a team, but the Mountaineers would not go away. West Virginia took a 21-20 lead late, but a strong presence from Afedo Manyang helped TCU take the five of the last six points.

“She’s [Manyang] really put the work in,” Kramer said.  “You could see it tonight.”

TCU won the second set 25-22 to take a 2-0 lead.  Manyang produced five kills and two blocks in the set.

The Frogs looked sharp and ready to complete the sweep in the third set; however, the hard-hitting of West Virginia’s outside hitter Katelyn Evans kept the match interesting. The set was tied at 17 as it drew to a close. 

Evans totaled a game-high 13 kills for the Mountaineers in the contest.

Then, TCU took off. A 5-0 run put the Frogs up for good, sealing their first sweep of an opponent in almost two months.

“It definitely makes us feel really good,” Nichols said.  “[It] puts us on the right track for sure.”

McCall, Manyang and middle blocker Katie Clark combined for 22 kills and nine blocks in the victory.

Nichols finished with a game-high 40 kills, her most in a three set game this season.  The first-year setter also added 10 digs for the fourth double-double of her career.

“It’s all thanks to my hitters,” Nichols said about her early success this season.  “They’ve been really good helping me out and helping me run the offense.”

Looking to gain momentum, TCU advances to 2-6 in Big 12 play with the win.

The Frogs will stay in Fort Worth for their next action, as they face Iowa State at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Rickell to start the second half of conference play.