TCU

TCU volleyball tops Baylor in five sets

Jill Kramer, shown last year in her first season as the TCU director of volleyball, guided her team to a dramatic five-set victory Wednesday night over Big 12 rival Baylor to give the Frogs a chance to end the regular season with momentum and a winning streak.
Jill Kramer, shown last year in her first season as the TCU director of volleyball, guided her team to a dramatic five-set victory Wednesday night over Big 12 rival Baylor to give the Frogs a chance to end the regular season with momentum and a winning streak. Star-Telegram

The TCU volleyball team upended Baylor in five sets Wednesday night in a back-and-forth affair at the University Recreation Center.

TCU (12-12, 5-9 Big 12) won the final set 15-13 as Ashley Smith notched the final point on an assist from Kaylee Smith. Sarita Mikals had some of the key digs as TCU finished off the match.

The Horned Frogs won the opening set 25-21 before the Bears (20-9, 8-5) responded to win 25-23 in the second. TCU took the third 25-23 before Baylor won 25-18 to force a deciding fifth set.

Sophomore Ashleigh Martin led TCU with a career-high 22 kills, and Lamprini Konstantinidou had 36 assists.

“It’s the kind of match you want to see between two rivals, you’ve got great athletes on both sides of the net, and they’re playing their hearts out,” TCU director of volleyball Jill Kramer told TV broadcasters Chuck LaMendola and Alexia Heist after the match, which drew a season-high crowd of 1,917 fans.

One of those fans was Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister, whose daughter Alex plays for Baylor.

The Frogs had to overcome a remarkable performance from Baylor star Katie Staiger, who had 29 kills.

“She’s a beast, man. I have a lot of respect for that kid,” Kramer said.

Baylor setter Morgan Reed had a career-high 60 assists. Camryn Freiberg added a career-high 19 kills. Jana Brusek had 28 digs.

Three TCU players had a double-double: Ashley Smith (15 kills, 13 digs), Mikals (14 kills, 20 digs) and Konstantinidou (36 assists, 12 digs). Jillian Bergeson led TCU with 25 digs.

The Frogs took the third set when their block dominated, led by Natalie Gower and Regan McGuire. Gower led TCU with eight blocks, and McGuire had a dramatic solo block on Staiger in the fifth set.

TCU looked to be out of gas in the fourth set, but found a late spark and then seized the momentum in the fifth set to take a 6-3 lead.

“No. 1, I want to thank our fans,” Kramer told gofrogs.com. “This was the largest crowd this season and so many people stayed until the end. [The match went 2 hours, 37 minutes]. That was a long one and it is late. Everybody was on their feet cheering and had our backs the whole time. We really appreciate it and that is what we need right now.”

TCU travels to Lubbock on Saturday to take on Texas Tech at 6 p.m. The Frogs close out the regular season with their final home match at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

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