MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University volleyball team fell to TCU 3-2 (26-24, 25-20, 16-25, 24-26, 2-15), Saturday at the WVU Coliseum in its second Big 12 match this season.
The Mountaineers (8-7, 0-2 Big 12) won the first two sets, but could not hold off a strong comeback by the Horned Frogs (12-2, 1-0 Big 12) who won the next three to take the match.
“We had a lot of really bright spots,” coach Jill Kramer says. “In the first two sets, we finished well and played with a lot of confidence. We had a strong fourth set as well, but we just have to learn to play a full match. In this league, every night is going to be brutal, tough and it is going to be a fight. We have to push back when it gets tough and learn to finish.
“We overcame a lot of hurdles tonight and just because we didn’t get the win at the end, does not mean that we didn’t get better. We got better at a lot of things.”
WVU found itself down 10-5 at the start of the first set until kills from freshmen outside hitters Nikki Attea
and Hannah Sackett
pulled the Mountaineers back into the set. With the set tied at 21, WVU capitalized off hitting errors from TCU and a service ace from Attea to take the first set 26-24.
The Mountaineers took an early lead in the second set off a 4-0 serving run from junior outside hitter Arielle Allen
. WVU would continue to build its lead until a serving run from Sloane Sunstrum, which included two service aces, pulled the match even at 18. The Horned Frogs would battle for a couple more points until kills from Attea and freshman setter Brittany Sample
put WVU on a 5-0 run that gave them the second set and a 2-0 lead in the match.
Strong serving from the Horned Frogs gave TCU an early lead in the fourth set at 14-8. The Mountaineers would attempt to close the gap with kills from Sackett and Attea, but kills from Sunstrum and Emily Kirby gave the Horned Frogs the advantage and their first set in the match.
Three straight kills from Allen and a block from Allen and sophomore middle blocker Evyn McCoy
gave WVU a 13-7 lead to begin the fourth set. The Horned Frogs would not give up as a 10-1 scoring run from Sutton Sunstrum gave TCU a 17-14 lead. The Mountaineers would come back to tie the match at 23 with a kill from McCoy, but a service error from WVU, combined with a kill from Kirby gave TCU the fourth set 26-24.
TCU used the momentum from the previous two sets to take the fifth set and the match.
Attea led all hitters with 15 kills, while also posting five blocks. Sample and Allen each posted double-doubles with Sample recording 45 assists and 20 digs and Allen recording 10 kills and 12 digs.
WVU will continue play with its first Big 12 road trip on Thursday, Sept. 27, when it travels to Manhattan, Kan., to take on Kansas State at 8 p.m. The Mountaineers will finish up the trip with a stop in Norman, Okla., to take on Oklahoma at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29.
“Both are great opponents,” Kramer says. “Kansas State has been ranked all year and Oklahoma swept them on Wednesday. They are both well coached teams and both have great players. It is going to be a great learning experience for us to go in there and to learn what these new arenas and a Big 12 environment are going to be like. It is just another opportunity for us to get better.”