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Volleyball shows fight, falls in nail-biter to Iowa State

TCU Volleyball wrapped up their first fall season in Schollmaier Arena on Nov. 21, 2020. (Heesoo Yang/Staff Photographer)

Despite having four players with double-digit kills, TCU Volleyball fell just short against Iowa State on Saturday, losing to the Cyclones 3-2 in their final match of the fall season.

The Frogs have had six matches postponed because of COVID-19, all of which they will play during the spring.

The loss drops TCU to just 1-9 for the season and extends their losing streak to seven-straight matches. Only one of those losses has been a sweep, and three of them have gone to five sets.

Middle blocker Afedo Manyang and first-year outside hitter Taylor Raiola led the way offensively for TCU, racking up 14 kills apiece. That total ties a career-high for Raiola.

Joining that duo in double figures were outside hitter MyKayla Myers and middle blocker Katie Clark, who combined for 25 kills.

While Iowa State barely edged TCU in kill total (66 to 64), the Cyclones bolstered .314 hitting average while holding the Frogs to a clip of just .205.

The contest gives the Cyclones a series sweep of the Frogs. On Friday, they defeated TCU in four sets. The Cyclones outkilled the Frogs 59-38, winning their three sets by an average of almost 13 points.

Frogs start strong before falling flat

Looking to reverse the outcome of Friday, the Frogs could not have had a much better start to the match. A pair of strong kills from Manyang helped them start the day on a 5-0 run and force an early Cyclones timeout.

TCU then fell flat offensively, finishing with just a .171 hitting clip in the set. Meanwhile, Iowa State got cooking, finishing the set on a massive 23-10 run to take the first set.

Myers and Raiola contributed four kills apiece for the Frogs.

The next set saw another early lead for the Frogs. More sharp swinging by Raiola and the other TCU hitters put them up 11-5 before Iowa State could blink.

The Frogs extended their lead even further later in the match, winning a back-and-forth rally with the Cyclones to take a 21-13 lead on a Manyang kill.

This time, TCU wouldn’t let Iowa State come back. Setter McKenzie Nichols fooled the Cyclones’ defense with a no-look kill, and the Frogs took the second set 25-16.

Intensity rises after teams split first two sets

The tension then began to rise in Schollmaier Arena as the teams were locked at 10 midway through the third set. This intense nature continued for the entire set, with neither team taking a lead greater than three.

TCU was able to get a run when they needed it, though, putting together two-straight points to win a hard-fought third set at 25-23. The final blow came on the Frogs’ sixth service ace of the night courtesy of defensive specialist Dani Dennison.

Dennison was not done dishing out aces either. The senior would go on to collect two more back-to-back to lock the two teams up at nine early on in the fourth set.

The teams stayed in an all-out battle for the rest of the set, tying at 22, 24, 25, and 26. Like TCU had in the third set, Iowa State found the two points they needed late, riding two-straight kills by outside hitter Brooke Andersen to a 28-26 fourth set victory.

Even coaching became a strong factor in the fifth set. The head coaches traded challenge calls on back-to-back plays, both of which were reversed.

Iowa State then took over, stifling the TCU offense and pounding the Frogs with powerful kills. The Cyclones would win the fifth set in resounding fashion, 15-5, to take the match 3-2.

Dennison finished with 16 digs. The senior currently sits at fifth all-time at TCU in digs with 1,221 in her career. She is just six away from tying Sutton Sunstrum for fourth.

The Horned Frogs season will reconvene in the spring at a date not yet decided.

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