TCU volleyball will return all but one player to their starting lineup in a 2014 season that begins this Friday as the Frogs travel to take on top-ranked Penn State.
This is a season filled with hope for players, coaches and fans alike as the Horned Frogs strive for a successful third campaign in the Big 12 conference.
Head Coach Prentice Lewis said the team started building on the success of last year by taking a trip to Italy this summer.
While in Italy the team took tours, played in a large tournament against quality competition and also worked on the squad chemistry that has carried over from last season.
Senior Mattie Burleson said the trip was able to prepare the team for the many challenges they will face in the upcoming season, and the group was able to bond as a whole.
“After the trip, the chemistry of this team is the strongest that it’s ever been,” Burleson said.
Stephanie Holland, the other senior on the team, is Coach Lewis’ “anchor” when a kill is needed.
Holland is primed to have a successful season after being third on the team in both kills and blocks last season.
Coach Lewis said that the team will be led by Burleson, who led the team in blocks last season, and junior Alexia Heist, a “big time setter” for the team.
Heist takes her role of captain very seriously and said that she “needs to stay strong and be a leader the whole season.” She also said she hopes to lead by example and show her teammates how to balance their school work and work for the team.
TCU finished 16-15 last season, so the team hopes that the leadership and experience of this year’s squad will help them significantly improve their record.
One key element to the success of the Horned Frogs will be sophomore Ashley Smith.
Smith, who was second on the team in kills her first year, said she wants to be the person that the team looks to even though she is just entering her sophomore year.
“I want to be the person that the team can look at as the consistent player that’s always going to play well, no matter what,” said Smith.
When asked what her expectations were for this season, Coach Lewis said that she’d never give a specific target for a total number of wins.
However, Lewis did set high expectations for the work ethic, intensity and resilience of the squad going forward.
“I want the team to play hard every match. I want them to be grovelers. I want them to be a team that does not give up and fights until the very last point,” Lewis said.