Dec. 3, 2009

Courtesy of TCU

AUSTIN, Texas - The TCU volleyball team made its NCAA debut count as they took a 3-0 (26-24, 25-13, 27-25) victory over Rice in the opening round of the tournament. The Horned Frogs rode their middle blockers to victory as Kristen Hester and Kourtney Edwards combined for 27 kills, including a career-high 15 from Kristen Hester.

The Horned Frogs pounded out 47 kills and hit for a .322 average in the match. Along with Edwards and Kristen Hester, Irene Hester notched nine kills. At the net, Edwards led all blockers with five, including two of the solo variety. Katelyn Blackwood led the back row effort with 15 digs, while Lauren Otto pitched in with 14.

Rice kept the first set close as it never allowed the Frogs to gain more than a three-point advantage early on. Clinging to a 10-9 lead, the Horned Frogs benefited from three straight Owl errors and a kill from Irene Hester to take a commanding 14-9 lead. The Owls showed fight as they battled back with a 4-0 run of their own to close the gap to two, 15-13.

Another 3-0 run by the Owls gave them their first lead of the set and the back-and-forth duel was on. A Kristen Hester blast gave TCU a 20-18 lead only to see the Owls battle back to tie the set at 20. A 4-3 run by the Owls gave them their lone set point.

The Horned Frogs fought off the set point, rattling off three straight points on kills from Kristen Hester to take the early 1-0 match lead. Kristen Hester was big in the first set with five kills and two blocks as the Frogs claimed the 26-24 set one victory.

A dominating effort in the second set saw the Horned Frogs run away with a 25-13 victory for the commanding 2-0 match lead. Edwards found her groove in the early goings with two kills and a block as the Frogs built a 9-3 lead.

The Owls pulled back within six, 14-8, but a service error put the ball back in the Frogs' hands. Edwards accounted for the next four Horned Frog points with two blocks and two kills as the Frogs stretched their lead to ten, 19-9.

For the second straight set, Kristen Hester was huge late as she accounted for the final three points of the set with two kills and a solo block.

Trying to fight their way back into the match, the Owls came out with some fire as they raced out to a 10-7 lead. TCU fought to keep the set close, evening things up at 12 on a block from Edwards and Otto on the outside.

Rice responded and went up 16-13 only to see the Frogs put together a 4-0 run on kills from Irene Hester, Kristen Hester and Megan Munce. A back-and-forth affair commenced before the Frogs finally took control. Christy Hudson gave the Frogs set point and a Rice attacking error locked up the 27-25 victory.

The Frogs (27-6) advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament with the victory. They will face the winner of the No. 2 Texas vs. Texas State game Friday night at 6:30 p.m. in Gregory Gymnasium.

MATCH NOTES
-TCU won its first-ever NCAA Tournament match in the school's first showing in the national tournament.
-TCU extended its winning streak to four matches, including a 13-1 record in its last 14 matches.
-The Horned Frogs held their opponent below .200 hitting percentage for the 11th time this season.
-Kristen Hester recorded a career-high 15 kills in the match.
-TCU moved to 5-8 all-time against Rice, breaking a three-match win streak in the series by the Owls.
-Lauren Otto moved to sixth on the TCU career digs record with 14, bringing her career total to 1,108.