Following a near-perfect performance in the Cowtown Classic tournament last weekend, TCU Volleyball stumbled to the finish line of the Fight in the Fort over the weekend, splitting their last two matches.
The Frogs swept North Florida on Thursday to tie their record for straight sweeps with five-in-a-row. Things got more difficult as TCU fell to Houston Baptist University 2-3 in their final matchup.
Match 1 and 2
Following an impressive match against Louisiana Tech Thursday afternoon, TCU volleyball continued to dominate at the net in their match against North Florida University later that night.
The Frogs swept the Ospreys, tying their all-time record for straight-sweeps with five. The record was previously set by the TCU team that went to the NCAA Tournament in 2015.
Outside hitter Julia Adams tallied four kills in the opening set, highlighting a strong start for the Frogs that led to a 25-16 first set win.
The second match proved to be more difficult for the Frogs, as North Florida built an eight-point lead.
“We let our foot off the gas,” head coach Jill Kramer said. “[Audrey] Nalls came in and gave us a really great spark.”
Nalls, an outside hitter, entered the game and delivered a kill and an ace to lead TCU on a 6-0 run and get them back into the game.
“I have to come in and do my job, even if we are down,” Nalls said. “That’s what I’m here for. You get one big kill and we feed off it.”
Feeding off of Nall’s fire, Adams rattled off three kills to help the Frogs tie the game. TCU would then rally together to win the second set 25-23.
The Frogs brought the heat entering the third set, jumping out to a five-point lead. Nevertheless, UNF kept the match point at bay with killer serves and surprising saves.
Strong defense from Nalls and four blocks recorded by middle blocker MyKayla Myers were enough for TCU to hold off a UNF comeback effort, and the Frogs won the third set 25-19 to sweep the match.
Setter McKenzie Nichols finished with 38 assists and 11 digs for her third double-double of the season.
Looking to set the program record for straight sweeps, TCU won their first set against HBU on Friday evening but ultimately came up short, ending the streak with a 2-3 match loss.
Kramer said the team has “taken it really seriously to protect our home court” and that not succeeding in that goal was truly the “most disappointing part of the evening.”
The team started off strong in the first set with a long service run thanks to a pair of aces from Nichols. The Frogs would cruise from there and emphatically win the opening set 25-16.
With that win, TCU set their program record for most sets won in a row with 16.
The second and third sets did not go as smoothly for the Frogs and contained multiple attack errors from TCU’s hitters. This ultimately led to the team dropping two sets in a row and dig themselves into a hole.
The Frogs came back for revenge in the fourth set, playing as they did in the opening set. The Frogs easily took the lead after a six-point service run from defensive specialist Bella Swafford and finished with a 25-16 win to tie the match at 2-2.
The fifth set for the Frogs didn’t begin well when Adams hit an attack out that seemed to restart the TCU offensive mistakes, which happened often in the second and third sets. A 13-8 deficit for the Frogs would prove to be too much to overcome, and they saw their five-match win streak end with a 15-13 fifth set loss.
Nichols had, once again, been outstanding with 53 assists and 10 digs. She had recorded a double-double in all three matches of the Fight in the Fort.
“We’ll get it back tomorrow and work on us,” Kramer said. “It’s early in the season and we’ve got a lot of volleyball matches left to play.”
TCU continues their homestand Tuesday at 7 p.m. against Incarnate Word.