Volleyball opens season 2-1 in Georgia tournament


    Head volleyball coach Prentice Lewis said the hardest thing for a young team to do is travel, but the Frogs overcame the test with a winning record after traveling to Athens, Ga., Friday and Saturday for an away tournament.

    Freshman outside hitter Ashley Smith and freshman middle blocker Regan McGuire led the Frogs and made the challenge look easy.

    Smith drove the offensive effort for the Frogs in wins over Furman and Lipscomb in her first matches in a TCU jersey at Ramsey Center at the Georgia Bulldog Invitational. McGuire assisted in 12 of the 21 record-setting blocks that lifted the Frogs over Lipscomb.

    The Frogs (1-0, 0-0 Big 12) started the weekend and opened their season Friday with a 3-0 sweep (25-21, 26-24, 25-20) of Furman. Smith led the Frogs' offense with 14 kills and two errors. 

    Freshman libero Shane Peters guided the offense with 12 digs alongside Sutton Sunstrum with 11 digs. Setters Alexia Heist and Trisha Langley ran the offense with 20 and 17 assists, respectively, while Langely also recorded 11 digs for her first career double-double. 

    Yvonne Igodan, a senior middle blocker and Preseason All-Big 12 Team selection, finished second behind Smith with eight kills. Leftie right-sides Blaire Pickens and Stephanie Holland recorded seven and five kills, respectively.

    The Frogs (1-1, 0-0 Big 12) couldn't carry the same offensive effort into Saturday morning's match against tournament-host Georgia, falling in straight sets (17-25, 20-25, 17-25). 

    Yvonne Igodan led the Frogs offensively with seven kills, while Smith, junior middle blocker Mattie Burleson and sophomore right-side hitter Blaire Pickens added six kills each. Sophomore setter Alexia Heist recorded her third double-double of her career and first this season with 18 assists and 12 digs. 

    The Frogs consistently fought back from strong offensive pressure by the Bulldogs, but multiple errors offered Georgia added momentum that lifted the team to close out the match over TCU. 

    In the final match of the tournament, TCU rebounded from the loss against Georgia and topped Lipscomb 3-1 (27-25, 25-23, 19-25, 25-19) with an impressive blocking performance by both the team and McGuire. 

    The Frogs' (2-1, 0-0 Big 12) record-setting blocking 21 blocks, 12 of which came from McGuire, is now tied for second all-time for team match records, while McGuire's total ties Jennifer Sebastian for first all-time in individual match records.

    Pickens and junior right-side hitter Stephanie Holland each recorded nine kills for the Frogs along with a balanced attack of Smith with seven kills. Setters Heist and Trisha Langely guided the offense with 18 and 11 assists, respectively.

    The Frogs will travel again to Chicago, Ill., to match up against the University of Illinois at Chicago on Sept. 5 at 5 p.m. The team will finish out an away-game stretch by traveling to Milwaukee, Wis., to take on USC and Marquette on Sept. 6 and 7.