Horned Frogs lose in four to No. 5 Minnesota, 3-1
The TCU Horned Frogs fell to No. 5 Minnesota in four games (30-20, 26-30, 17-30, 17-30) Saturday night at the University Rec Center in the final match of the Molten/Fort Worth Plaza Invitational. Junior Anna Vaughn and sophomore Talaya Whitfield were named to the all-tournament squads and the Frogs garnered a second-place finish at the tournament.
The young Frogs were not intimidated by the No. 5 in front of Minnesota's name and came out firing against the Gophers. Vaughn led the attack with four kills and Whitfield added three. Gophers' three-time all-American Paula Gentil tallied only two digs in game one as the Frogs found all the empty spots on the court.
Freshman Nirelle Hampton was efficient in running the offense, tallying 11 assists in the opening frame and helping the Frogs build a lead as big as nine before taking the game, 30-20.
Minnesota came out in game two trying to even the match score and jumped out to an eight-point advantage. TCU, displaying the resiliency expected of a Prentice Lewis coached squad, battled back to within three, 23-20. Senior Jessica Byrnes took charge and killed five balls to push Minnesota the game two victory.
Whitfield impressed early, digging 16 balls and posting eight kills. Hampton tallied a game-high three aces through two games.
The Gophers took game three with Jessy Jones and Sarah Florian combining for eight kills. Kelly Bowman continued to quarterback the offense and tallied 20 assists through the first three games. Continuing to apply pressure, Minnesota ended the match with a 30-17 victory in game four.
TCU turned in one of its best overall performances against the No. 5 nationally ranked team from the Big 10 Conference. Hampton, Whitfield and junior Calli Corley all turned in double-digit digs, marking the first time, this season, three Frogs recorded double-digit digs in the same match.
With the loss, TCU fell to 8-3 on the season and dropped its first match since a Sept. 2, tilt against Cal Poly. The team will host Winthrop, Grambling State and Stephen F. Austin next weekend as part of the Nike/Courtyard Marriot Invitational.