Frogs upset Colorado State in five
Oct. 25, 2005
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Finding themselves in a 0-2 deficit to a Colorado State Rams team that holds a 72-match win streak when leading 2-0, the TCU volleyball team battled back for a 3-2 victory (24-30, 23-30, 30-28, 30-26, 15-10) Tuesday night at the University Rec Center. Sophomore Talaya Whitfield recorded 16 digs and 14 kills for her fifth double-double of the season and freshman Nirelle Hampton set a new career-high for assists with 55. The win is the first-ever by the Frogs versus the Rams in a series that dates back to Sept. 27, 1996.
The match began even throughout with each team getting its fair share of swings. TCU was able to make precision kills and go high over the blocks as they recorded 11 kills in game one. The Frogs were also able to score points on blocks as they out blocked the Rams, who lead the Mountain West Conference in the category,4-0. Junior Anna Vaughn led the Frogs with four kills in the game.
Although the stats were even, CSU escaped with a 30-24 game one victory. Whitfield made six of her 16 digs in game one and sophomore Loren Barry chipped in three as TCU tallied 17 for the game.
Colorado State looked to restore statistical order as they out blocked TCU in game two, 3-0, and hit an efficient .529. Casey Bauer recorded five kills and three players tallied four as CSU shoved the Purple and White into a 0-2 deficit.
TCU is 0-5 this season when they head into the locker room down two games and Colorado State was riding a 72-match win streak when leading by two games at the intermission. All of the odds seemed to be against the Frogs, but the team kept its composure and came out ready to play in game three.
"We just have to play our game," states associate head coach Jason Tanaka. "As long as we focus on what we need to do in games, then we will have good results."
The Frogs focused on the task at hand and came out looking for a little spark. Head Coach Prentice Lewis turned to Whitfield for a spark as she moved the Lakewood, Calif., product to outside-hitter. In her first swing at the ball, she fired a shot straight down the line that electrified the crowd. On her next swing, the Colorado State back row players acted as if the ball was a "bogeyman" and jumped out of the way as a hot shot came right down the center of the court. Whitfield finished game three with six kills while hitting .556.
"I just go in there and do what is asked of me," said Whitfield when asked about her move from libero to outside-hitter after game two. "If coach wants me to swing, I'll swing." If she wants me to dig, I'll dig.
Junior Calli Corley established control of the floor at the libero position, racking up seven kills in the game three and finished the match with 10.
With still a ton of work to be done, the Frogs maintained their focus and pushed to a 27-21 lead in game four. The Rams made a 5-0 run to cut the Frogs lead to two and retake the momentum in the match. After a timeout, the Frogs scored two tough points out of the timeout and Hampton burned a shot off the head of CSU's Ashley Fornstrom to send the match to a fifth game.
The University Rec Center began to rumble, the crowd was on its feet and the Frogs continued their focus as they downed their opponent 15-10 in game five. Senior Erin Estep made a critical kill right before the teams switched sides to put the Frogs up by three. Sophomore LeMeita Smith made two big kills and helped the Frogs to a .294 hitting percentage as she hit .500.
TCU battled back from an 0-2 deficit versus New Mexico on Oct. 8 but fell just three points short in the comeback attempt.
"After the New Mexico match, we learned that we have to come out for a fifth game and take it," said Vaughn who finished the match with 15 kills.
The Frogs did just that as they held the No. 3 hitting team in the conference (.226) to -.038 in the final game.
For the eighth time this season, three players finished the match with 10 or more kills as Vaughn (15), Whitfield (14) and Smith (13) eclipsed the plateau.
Freshman Devon Kirk tied her career-high with nine kills.
With the win, TCU improved to 15-9 on the season and 3-5 in MWC play. The team will play match two of its three-match home stand on Friday night when the BYU Cougars come to town. Match time is slated for 7 p.m.