Volleyball swept by No. 6 Texas, remain winless in conference play

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Despite the loss, head coach Jill Kramer described the match as one of the best of TCU’s season so far. Photo by Heesoo Yang.

TCU volleyball competed for three-straight sets but was swept by No. 6 Texas Wednesday, falling to a 0-3 record in the Big 12 play.

“Tonight is the hardest I’ve seen our team compete in a long time,” head coach Jill Kramer said. “I was really proud of the effort.”

Outside hitter Audrey Nalls tied for a game-high 13 kills on a career-high .391 hitting clip. This was the first-year’s eighth game producing double-digit kills in.

The game drew 2,171 fans, a season-high for the Rickel and the sixth-largest in its history.

“The environment was so much fun,” Nalls said. “You can really just start playing at a really high level just off of your fans.”

Feeding off of the crowd, the Frogs came out with an electric energy in the first set. The score was tied 5-5 early, but service errors and the inability to finish plays would plague TCU as they struggled to keep up with the Longhorns.

Led by outside hitter Micaya White, the Longhorns finished the set on a 7-3 run, winning 25-18. White contributed five kills in the first set alone and Texas hit .458 as a team in the period.

The Frogs continued to fight in the second set. After Texas took a 14-9 lead, defensive specialist Élan McCall, gave TCU some life with the team’s play of the night: she laid out for a dig that led to a kill by junior Ashley Waggle.

TCU would keep it close the rest of the way, pulling within two, 22-20, at one point. Texas took control from there, though, finishing the set on a 3-0 run to win 25-20 and take a 2-0 match lead.

Despite their deficit, the Frogs continued to fight in the third set, taking their second lead of the day at 8-7. Texas crept ahead, but Nalls would keep TCU within reach at a score of 18-17 late in the set.

As it had all night, the hard hitting of Texas would prove too much for TCU, and the Frogs fell 25-22 in the final set to drop the match 3-0.

“We’re all learning,” Nalls said. “I think we learned a lot [more] in this game than we had in the past.”

White totaled 13 kills on the night. Her .500 hitting percentage played a huge role in Texas hitting .365 as a team in the contest.

“I love playing against players who could be better or are better,” Nalls said. “It helps me play better.”

Despite the Longhorns’ hitting success and just 2.0 blocks in the game for TCU, Kramer called the contest one of her team’s best defensive efforts of the season.

First-year Audrey Nalls tied for a game-high 13 kills in the contest. Photo by Heesoo Yang.

First-year McKenzie Nichols played the entire game at setter for the Frogs, posting a career-high 32 kills.

“She [Nichols] did a great job,” Kramer said.  “I ask a lot of her, and she can take it.”

TCU was without middle blocker Katie Clark, who is expected to return to the court this weekend. Kramer also said that McCall is week-to-week as to when she will return to the outside hitter position.

The Frogs will head on the road for their next matchup to take on Texas Tech on Sunday. First serve is scheduled for 1 p.m.