Volleyball heads east for last tournament before conference play


    As the TCU women's volleyball team heads to Greensboro, N.C. this weekend to compete in the Spartan Spiketacular, the word consistency sums up the game plan for the Horned Frogs. 

    "Our team has to play consistently," Lewis said. "That's going to be the main thing. We have complete capability to do so, so I'm looking forward to these three matches coming up." 

    The Frogs will face North Carolina Central on Friday and George Mason and UNC Greensboro on Saturday in UNCG's Fleming Gymnasium. The Spartan Spiketacular marks the last tournament before Big 12 Conference play. 

    The Horned Frogs are coming off a tournament sweep at home last weekend, defeating Stephen F. Austin 3-1, Houston 3-1, Grambling State 3-0 and Ole Miss 3-2 in a five-set thriller at the Nike/Molten Invitational. 

    "Obviously winning the tournament is a great thing, and beating a team as stellar as Ole Miss, so it really helps our team confidence and overall awareness of teams we can beat," Lewis said. "Our athletes are ready to compete on a day-to-day basis now."

    Freshman outside hitter Ashley Smith, who leads the team with 112 kills overall, said the tough win over Ole Miss was a complete team effort.

    "That game against Ole Miss was super fun and now we're just on a high," Smith said. "We are playing as one as a team and we want to keep that going as we go into the UNC Greensboro tournament."

    Senior middle blocker Yvonne Igodan, who is second on the team in kills at 104, and junior right-side hitter Stephanie Holland were named co-MVPs of the Nike/Molten Invitational. Smith was also named to the All-Tournament team, ending the weekend with 31 kills and 15 digs.

    "Ashley has been first or second in kills almost every match we've had. She's a huge part of our team," Lewis said. "She's also done great defensively."

    Igodan finished the tournament last weekend with 47 kills, a .592 hitting percentage, and 12 blocks. Holland recorded 34 kills, a .382 hitting percentage, and 12 blocks as well. 

    "[Holland] is a veteran, so we are looking for leadership and consistency out of her," Lewis said. "She's been able to provide that for us and she's hitting a heavy, heavy ball, so we like that as well."

    Freshman libero Shane Peters leads the team with 109 digs followed by sophomore defensive specialist Sutton Sunstrum. Sophomore setter Alexia Heist has 233 assists recorded on the season, and redshirt freshman setter Trisha Langley has 162.

    The first match of the Spartan Spiketacular on Friday between the Frogs (8-3, 0-0 Big 12) and North Carolina Central marks the first meeting between the two teams. NCCU (0-13, 0-0 MEAC) has yet to record a win in the 2013-2014 season and has won just one set overall. 

    NCCU fell to East Carolina at home in three sets on Tuesday. Junior outside hitter Da’Sha Brown leads the offense with 95 kills, and freshman outside hitterKelsey Murphy holds a team-high 87 digs. 

    The Frogs will start Saturday morning play against George Mason (3-8, 0-0 A10). The Patriots went 1-2 last weekend at the Maryland Invitational. The Patriots fell to Villanova in five sets and were swept by Maryland, but managed to get a 3-1 win over New Hampshire.

    For the Patriots, senior outside hitter Lana Zonjic leads the team offensively with 108 kills on the season. Senior setter and right-side hitter Tori Price has recorded 391 assists overall and sophomore libero Bernetta Moore has tallied a team-high 202 digs. The team is ranked eighth in the country in blocks per set, as well.

    TCU volleyball will finish out the tournament Saturday night against UNC Greensboro (5-4, 0-0 SoCon). The Spartans also went 1-2 last weekend at the Benson Invitational at the University of Georgia, defeating North Florida in four sets and falling to Louisiana 3-0 and the tournament-host Georgia Bulldogs 3-1. 

    Senior middle blocker Olivia Humphries earned all-tournament team honors, recording 32 kills, 19 digs, three aces and four blocks. Humphries leads the Spartans with 108 kills and eight aces and is tied in blocks with 22. 

    Sophomore libero Katherine Santiago leads the team defensively with 137 digs, freshman setter Sara Hohman has 167 assists on the season, and junior middle blocker Vicky Harley leads the team in blocks per set at 0.91 and is second on the roster with 21 blocks overall. 

    The Frogs are set to take on North Carolina Central Friday at 3 p.m. Saturday's matches against George Mason and UNC Greensboro will start at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., respectively.