Behind one of their best offensive performances of the decade, TCU volleyball (1-2) defeated Texas Tech (2-3) 3-2 on Thursday night in the first-ever volleyball match at the Schollmaier Arena.
“They [Texas Tech] are such a great defensive team,” head coach Jill Kramer said. “We expected there to be a lot of long rallies. We expected to have to mix up what we do, and I think it’s a testament to the hard work all the players have put in.”
The Frogs racked up 76 kills in the contest, the most team kills for TCU in the 25-point rally scoring era, which began in 2008.
Middle blocker Afedo Manyang and outside hitter Julia Adams were unstoppable for the Frogs, recording 24 kills apiece, both career highs.
“Huge,” Kramer said of Manyang and Adams. “You could tell they wanted it bad. They were feeling pretty good.”
Manyang’s final two kills came back-to-back following a 15-15 tie in the fifth set to put the nails in the coffin for Texas Tech.
TCU’s offense ran through McKenzie Nichols, whose 64 assists were the most by any Horned Frog since TCU joined the Big 12 in 2012.
“It all came down to communication,” Nichols said. “They were communicating to me about where they wanted the set to be, and I was communicating to them where they should hit the ball.”
The win earned TCU their first victory of the season and in their new home. The Frogs spent the previous 24 years playing in the Rickel, located at the front of the University Recreation Center.
The first set was intense. After the Red Raiders took a commanding 10-5 lead, an ace and assist from Nichols capped off a 10-4 run by the Frogs that gave them a one-point edge.
The two teams traded blows from there, finding themselves knotted in a 25-25 tie late in the set. TCU won the final two points, though, winning their first set of the 2020 season.
During the first set, middle blocker Katie Clark reached 500 career kills.
The intensity did not waver in the second set. Texas Tech once again took an early lead, but TCU would not give up. After the Red Raiders looked to wrap things up with a 23-19 lead, the Frogs went on a 4-1 run to make it close.
TCU was unable to complete their comeback though, and Texas Tech tied the game at 1-1 with a 25-23 second set win.
At this point, it was clear that the match was going to be a battle. A strong block by Manyang tied the third set score at nine, and things stayed tight for the majority of the set.
For the second set in a row, the Red Raiders would use late runs to pull away from the Frogs. After TCU got within one off of an error by Texas Tech, the Red Raiders put together a 6-2 run to put the Frogs away yet again by a score of 25-21.
TCU came back with vengeance in the fourth set. The hard hitting of Manyang and Adams was simply too much for Texas Tech to handle. The Frogs jumped ahead early and never took the foot off the gas, leading by as much as nine at one point.
“Honestly, it just comes down to our team,” Adams said. “There were a lot of moments where I was struggling and whatever I was doing wasn’t working; and I think coming together and problem-solving and asking our defensive specialists, ‘What’s wrong? What’s open?’ helped me out.”
A resounding 25-17 win for TCU in the fourth set sent the Frogs to a fifth set for the first time this season.
TCU needed every last kill to put Texas Tech away in the fifth set. The score was tied at 10, 13, 14 and 15 before the Frogs finally strung two points together to earn their first win of the season.
Libero Dani Dennison finished with 24 digs in the win, while Clark finished with 11.
“She’s such a great leader,” Nichols said of Dennison. “She’s very supportive, and she talks to each and every position.”
The Frogs will finish their series against the Red Raiders on Friday. First serve at the Schollmaier Arena is set for 5 p.m.