Volleyball pulls ahead in five-game match

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    The volleyball team, 12-2, opened conference play against 7-4 Wyoming and captured a victory in what became a five-game match after falling behind the Cowgirls Saturday afternoon at the University Recreation Center.TCU advanced to 1-0 in conference play, and pushed Wyoming to 1-1.

    After losing the first two games in the best-of-five match, the Horned Frogs had their backs against the wall as they headed into the third, and possibly final, game.

    During the 10-minute break after the second game, head coach Prentice Lewis said she talked about improving the quality of play in the second part of the match.

    “They were not playing their game,” Lewis said. “We were playing well for a few points but not for the full 30.”

    Freshman outside hitter Lauren Otto said the team pulled together during the break.

    “We decided as a team to step it up and play harder,” Otto said.

    A fired-up TCU team scored four quick points in game three before giving Wyoming a chance to respond. As the game progressed, the morale of the Frogs increased, and the 506-person crowd came alive.

    Airtight play at the net by Otto, redshirt freshman middle blocker Kourtney Edwards and senior middle blocker Anna Vaughn led to a handful of blocks in the third game that began shifting momentum for TCU.

    “The blocks in game three really helped turn things around,” said sophomore setter Nirelle Hampton.

    Winning the third game still left TCU behind 2-1, but in game four, the Horned Frogs defeated the Cowgirls by a 12-point margin.

    The match had come down to the fifth and final game, a 15-point playoff. TCU gained an early eight-point lead that dwindled to four points before they scored their final three points.

    The big blow to send the game into match point came during the longest rally of the match. A series of blocks and digs sent both teams sprawling over the court to hang on to a chance for victory. The rally came to a close when Hampton found space on the floor and dumped the ball over the net.

    Hampton said she was able to make her shot as a result of the deeper defense the Cowgirls provided her.

    “In long rallies, people start sitting further back expecting everyone to be killing,” Hampton said.

    Otto led the Horned Frogs through the match with seven aces and tallied double digits in both digs and kills.

    After the match, Lewis said her team needed to work on playing a more complete game during the 30-point sets.

    “If we don’t come out ready to play, it will be five-game matches like it was today,” Lewis said.

    The next match will be against Air Force on Friday in Colorado Springs, Colo., as the Horned Frogs try to build momentum in the early stages of conference play.