TCU Outlasts Volleyball, 3-2
Nov. 12, 2004
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- -
TCU (20-8; 9-3 C-USA) 25 30 31 23 15 MEMPHIS (24-9; 8-4 C-USA) 30 22 29 30 12
Despite a Memphis volleyball record 81 assists from Heather Watts, a match-high 24 kills from Nancy Nellans and career nights from Ashley Liford (19 kills) and Fehi Tuivai (17 kills), the Memphis volleyball team was unable to pull out a win as they fell to TCU, 3-2 Thursday evening in Conference USA action. Memphis, who held the No. 3 ranking in the C-USA standings now falls to fourth in the league with the loss and can drop as low as fifth depending on the outcome of Marquette's match with Charlotte on Friday.
TCU claimed a 6-5 lead in the deciding game on a Memphis attack error and never let go of the advantage en route to a 15-12 match-clinching win. The Horned Frogs, who hit .315 for the match, hit a blistering .458 in the final set.
Memphis forced the fifth game with a dominant 30-23 win in game four. The Tigers put down 23 kills with just three errors to finish the frame with a .488 percentage and extend the contest. A Fehi Tuivai kill broke a 10-10 tie and the Tigers then scored the next four points to take hold of a 15-10 advantage. They used a 5-1 run to stretch the cushion to eight points at 22-14, before finishing the game out.
Memphis jumped out to the 1-0 lead by winning the first game in convincing fashion. Nellans and Tiara Gilkey each downed seven kills in the game to lead the Tigers. The duo hit .462 and .417, respectively. A 6-1 Memphis surge put the Tigers ahead for good at 11-6. The U of M led by as many as six before TCU tied the game at 22. Memphis then finished the game on an 8-3 run to take a 30-25 victory.
Games two and three were not as easy. The Horned Frogs hit .324 in game two and .327 in game three to take a 2-1 advantage. TCU outside Dominika Szabo put down nine of her team-high 20 kills in the two games to lead the Frogs. The two teams battled to nine ties before TCU came out on top at 17-16. The Horned Frogs ended the second game on an 11-4 run to tie the match at 1-1.
Game three saw 21 ties and nine lead changes and TCU again surged ahead, claiming a 29-27 lead late in the game. After a Horned Frog attack error, Melissa Nance put down one of her nine kills to tie the set at 29. However, TCU managed to score on the next two plays to win.
Watts 81 assists is the most by a Memphis setter and the most in Conference USA action this year. It is also the most by a C-USA setter since DePaul's Kara Jakusz put up 88 assists in the 2000 season. Jakusz is the league's career assist leader. In addition to Watts', Nellans', Liford's and Tuivai's strong performances, Memphis got 18 kills from Gilkey. Tuivai finished with a .577 attack percentage. Nellans (24 kills, 18 digs), Gilkey (18 kills, 12 digs) and Heather Watts (81 assists, 16 digs) each posted double-doubles, while Emily Steckel added 15 digs on the defensive end. Christen Clayton also posted 10 digs for the Tigers, who outdug the Horned Frogs 83-63.
Memphis will wrap up the regular season with a contest against Houston at 7 p.m. at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse. Memphis will honor seniors Watts and Gilkey in their final home match.